Because the work, a sculptural combine, includes a stuffed bald eagle, a bird under federal protection, the heirs would be committing a felony if they ever tried to sell it. So their appraisers have valued the work at zero. But the IRS takes a different view. It has appraised “Canyon” at $65 million and is demanding that the owners pay $29.2 million in taxes.
Plus penalties of $11.7 million. Government makes it impossible for you to sell your assets, but taxes you on their “fair” market value anyway. With that kind of brilliant and inspired thinking, the deficit will go away in nothing flat.