Prince, the Artist Formerly Known as Current on His Taxes

Prince, the Artist Formerly Known as Current on His Taxes

Prince pays his property taxes . . . eventually.

Prince Rogers Nelson is a platinum-album artist who commands a substantial business empire, but it’s not exactly punctual when it comes to paying property taxes.

In early August, Prince’s entities owed roughly $332,100 in Carver County for taxes due in May. The figure encompasses 15 different parcels; Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, owned by Prince’s PRN Music Corporation, accounted for about $132,000 of it. The artist is no first-time offender: Prince’s property taxes have been “routinely paid late and with penalty,” says Carver County’s Laurie Engelen.

Prince has paid in full for past years’ taxes, but without fail, he’s missed the deadline—and been penalized—for at least one property every year since at least 2008. Taxes have never gone unpaid so long that he faced forfeiture, which typically occurs four to six years after taxes are due, Engelen says.

And Prince’s debts aren’t limited to a single county: As of July 30, Hennepin County records showed two delinquencies—a commercial property in Eden Prairie with $22,200 due, and a residential property in Golden Valley for which he owed $19,647.

The reason for Prince’s tardiness is unclear. County officials say property owners aren’t required to explain their delinquency, Prince could not be reached for comment, and calls to several former Prince attorneys were not returned.

Real estate experts seem perplexed. Edward Laubach, a principal at Gray Plant Mooty’s St. Cloud law office who frequently works with real estate tax protests, says the number of petitions filed in the state over property valuations has skyrocketed recently amid rising taxes and a depressed market.

Prince filed such a protest in 2004, but it was later dismissed. Even if he plans to contest recent assessments, state law mandates that property owners be current on their taxes before such a petition will be considered.

“There could be cash-flow problems, or simply someone not paying attention—I have no idea,” says Chuck Parsons, a veteran real estate attorney with Minneapolis law firm Moss & Barnett. “But to me, it doesn’t make economic sense.”

That’s because the consequences for delinquency are nothing to scoff at. The $332,100 owed in Carver County, for example, includes a $19,000 penalty, which will increase monthly if left unpaid.