Aretha Franklin’s estate is settling up with the Internal Revenue Service.
The Queen of Soul’s estate has paid the IRS at least $3 million in back taxes since her death in August, Franklin’s attorney David Bennett told The Associated Press.
The late singer owed more than $6.3 million in income taxes dating from 2012 to 2018, and $1.5 million in penalties.
“We have a tax attorney. All of her returns have been filed,” Bennett told the AP, adding that the estate disagrees with some of what the IRS considers income.
“We have disputes with the IRS regarding what they claim was income. We claim its double-dipping income because they don’t understand how the business works,” Bennett explained.
The attorney said Franklin, like many performers, had significant expenses when she toured.
“She had to pay for transportation, hotel rooms, backup singers, musicians. When she did that the IRS was questioning the returns she filed,” Bennett said.
The estate has also made payments to Franklin’s home state of Michigan and other jurisdictions “where she would have had some income,” he noted.
Still, IRS “proof of claim” filings entered in probate court in Michigan on Dec. 12 and 19 state that “no part of this debt has been paid and it is now due and payable to the United State Treasury at the Office of the Internal Revenue Service,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
The documents add that “this debt has priority and must be paid in full in advance of distribution to creditors to the extent provided by law.”
Franklin died at age 76 on Aug. 16, after battling pancreatic cancer.
The legendary singer is survived by four sons, Clarence Franklin, Edward Franklin, Kecalf Franklin and Ted White Jr.
She left no will for her estimated $80 million estate.
Franklin made headlines in the 1980s and ’90s following a series of lawsuits filed by creditors for unpaid debts.