The Taxman Tells Jackson to Beat It
The Santa Barbara County Assessor's Office has decided that the music star, 44, doesn't qualify for an agricultural-preservation tax break on his approximately 2,700-acre Neverland Ranch, the Associated Press reports.
The 2002-03 assessed value of the property is nearly $12.3 million, resulting in taxes this year of approximately $13,000, according to officials.
Jackson could be entitled to a legal tax break because he leases land to a cattle rancher. Without such a break, says AP, the assessed value of the property could be nearly 50 percent higher.
Under a state law, property owners are taxed at a lower rate in exchange for using their land for agricultural purposes. In order for him to qualify for such a break, Jackson can develop only two acres of his property for nonagricultural use.
But Jackson's Neverland Ranch has 37 acres dedicated to nonagricultural use, including a 7.1-acre amusement park complex, said supervising county planner Larry Appel.
A review of Jackson's property report has been set for May 2.
Earlier this month, the reputedly cash-strapped Jackson denied reports that he was trying to sell Neverland for $22.5 million -- or for any amount, despite its $3 million annual maintenance costs.
At the time, there were claims that, in order to ease his financial burden, Jackson was uprooting to Florida or to an old villa in Italy. But Jackson's managers insisted the reports were not true.