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Pay, Pay, Pay

Michael Jackson will cough up back taxes. Neverland doesn't qualify for the agricultural tax credits that have saved him $70,000 a year

Michael Jackson | MONEY MAN Jackson owes back taxes
Image credit: Michael Jackson: Ray Mickshaw/WireImage.com
MONEY MAN Jackson owes back taxes

Just because Michael Jackson has a zoo on his property doesn't make him a rancher. While the King of Pop does lease most of Neverland to a cattle-ranching operation, the Associated Press reports that he's agreed to stop declaring about 70 acres of his property as an agricultural preserve -- the land that includes his house, the zoo, his amusement park rides, a three-car garage, the go-cart track, and other developed acreage. As a result, he'll lose a tax break meant for ranchers that's saved him $70,000 a year.

Jackson's change in tax status comes five months after Santa Barbara County conducted an investigation of Neverland and determined that Jackson had built on some of the so-called agricultural preserve without filing proper permits over the course of the last 10 years. Though his property taxes will now rise from $130,000 to $200,000 a year, he could still face legal action to collect back taxes and fines for the permit and zoning violations, AP reports.

This weekend, Jackson is hosting a gala charity benefit dinner at Neverland for 500 guests, who've paid $5,000 per couple for the privilege of dining with the singer. He's pocketing $1 million of the proceeds himself, citing the expenses of staging the event. Still, maybe he can pass the hat to help defray his new tax bill as well.

Originally posted Sep 11, 2003
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