IRS Takes Hard Stance Against Media Mogul's Use of Company-Owned Art

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April 7 — Media mogul Joe L. Allbritton's widow is seeking a $40.7 million refund from the IRS for taxes she says it wrongly assessed on art allegedly distributed to the couple by Allbritton's company, Perpetual Corp.

The Internal Revenue Service says the Allbrittons treated the $140 million art collection as their own and should be taxed that way. The IRS also says the if the couple had been paying rent to the corporation to view the paintings—which included works from Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh—the cost should have been almost $65 million.

“It's unusual to see the IRS claiming such a hefty amount in taxes owed when no actual money has changed hands,” said Craig Wisnom, an estate planning attorney with Bogutz & Gordon in Tucson, Ariz.