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John Denver's Family Wins Dispute With IRS

November 20, 2003|James Bates | Times Staff Writer

The late singer John Denver's heirs are entitled to a federal tax refund to the tune of $594,674 instead of paying back taxes of about $1.5 million, according to U.S. Tax Court records.

Documents filed this month in Washington, D.C., show that Denver's two adult children, Zachary J. Deutschendorf and Anna Kate Deutschendorf, successfully fought Internal Revenue Service efforts to collect the money.

The IRS had argued that it was due the amount because the value of Denver's $19-million estate was understated by $2.5 million. At issue was the value of a Denver-owned record label and a firm that handled his business and management affairs.

Denver's children argued that the IRS overstated the value, and also contested some deductions that the agency wanted to disallow. The estate should have paid $7.44 million in taxes instead of $8.03 million, the IRS found.

Born Henry J. Deutschendorf Jr., Denver was known for such hits as "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" and "Rocky Mountain High." He died in 1997 when an experimental plane he was piloting crashed into Monterey Bay.

An IRS spokesman declined to comment.

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