Forbes family in IRS tax dispute «
Steve Forbes and members of his family are enmeshed in a tax dispute with the Internal Revenue Service tied to their publishing company’s former New York headquarters, documents filed in U.S. Tax Court reveal.
Forbes family members, including Steve Forbes, a former presidential candidate, his spouse and his brothers Christopher and Robert and their spouses, have disputed IRS assessments for back-taxes and penalties that total about $2.5 million for the whole family, according to the petitions, filed with the tax court in August.
The Forbes family has for decades published Forbes business magazine, through Forbes Media LLC, although the family recently put the title and related media assets on the market.
The dispute is rooted in charitable deductions that the Forbes family members claimed on the value of Forbes Media’s longtime headquarters in 2006, four years before the building was sold to New York University. According to the family petitions, the IRS has since “incorrectly determined” that members of the family “did not meet all the requirements” of IRS rules governing deductions and Treasury Department rules.
As a result, the IRS assessed tax “deficiencies” and penalties for the 2006 tax year on individual family members. The amounts vary from one family member to another, based in part on their ownership stake in the family business and tax liabilities on the former headquarters, according to the petitions. Christopher Forbes and his wife dispute IRS claims they owe $679,654 in unpaid taxes, as well as $271,862 in penalties for understatement of tax liabilities. Steve Forbes and his wife dispute IRS estimates they owe $285,994 in unpaid taxes and $114,398 in penalties, while Robert Forbes and his wife dispute claims they owe $636,787 in unpaid taxes and $254,715 in penalties.
Other family members cited in the petitions have disputed as little as around $750 in unpaid taxes and penalties.
The deficiency notices addressed to members of the Forbes family for the 2006 tax year are dated May 29 and May 30 of 2013, according to the petitions.
A lawyer for the Forbes family declined to discuss details of the petitions, but confirmed the dispute was still active.
A spokesman for the IRS declined to comment.