“Money” Mayweather’s $22M Problem: The Importance of Tax Planning

Floyd “Money” Mayweather certainly lives up to his nickname – the undefeated boxer is expected to cash in as much as $350 million for his recent win against Irish UFC fighter Conor McGregor.

There is also no doubt that the IRS was watching the 10-round Las Vegas match. The federal government is still awaiting payment on Mayweather’s 2015 tax bill, and hit the fighter with a hefty IRS tax lien this past July. It looks like Mayweather now has the cash to pay his debt.

Tax evasion or investment strategy?

Since 2004, Mayweather has had several tax liens filed against him. Numerous commentators have been trying to determine whether this is indicative of the fighter’s disdain for meeting his tax obligations, inability to pay his tax debts, or – as his tax attorney has argued – is part of an overall investment strategy.

This past July, Mayweather – who has earned an estimated $700 million during his career – filed a petition in tax court requesting a short-term installment agreement of less than three months to pay the $22,238,255 he owes as a result of a $250,000 million payout for his 2015 win against Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather’s tax lawyer has stated that “Money” does not have the cash to satisfy his debt immediately, and that the delay in payment is part of an overall investment strategy to retain investments with earnings that exceed IRS late- and underpayment penalties. With an upcoming fight that promised to pay off his outstanding tax bill – and more — it made sense for Mayweather to retain illiquid assets and wait a short time before satisfying the debt.

The cost of delay

With few exceptions, the penalty for failure to pay your taxes by the April 15th deadline is 0.5% of the amount owed for each month (or part thereof) in which the tax remains unpaid, up to a maximum of 25% of the tax bill. 26 U.S. Code § 6651(a)(2). This increases to 1% per month if the tax bill remains unpaid 10 days after the IRS issues a Notice of Intent to Levy. 26 U.S. Code § 6651(d)(1). In addition, there are penalties for failure to make estimated payments during the tax year. Not to mention interest on the delinquent balance.

The importance of tax planning

Unless you have a team of advisors and an investment plan that makes it worthwhile to incur these tax penalties, it is best to put aside a portion of any windfall earnings you make during the year for the IRS. The tax attorneys and accountants at Moskowitz, LLP has delivered top quality tax planning advice to tens of thousands of U.S. taxpayers. Contact our San Francisco offices today.