Tyler Perry is one of the wealthiest men in entertainment, but before his talent as a Hollywood director made him a billionaire with planes and homes in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Jackson Hole, he was “poor as hell.”
Perry grossed more than $660 million for the “Madea” franchise alone, and he owns 100 percent of the content he’s created. After seven years creating content for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN, Perry struck a deal with Viacom in 2019, getting 25 percent of streaming service BET+. In 2019, he opened Tyler Perry Studios, a 330-acre property in Atlanta with 12 sound stages and custom sets that include a to-scale White House.
With his massive influx of new money, Perry said he was unprepared for the challenges of managing it. Eventually, he was bound to interact with the Internal Revenue Service, sometimes, in surprising ways.
“Money isn’t something that I had, and nobody taught me that taxes had to be paid,” Perry said before a sold-out crowd at the 2022 Earn Your Leisure Conference, according to a report in Finurah, a wealth-building and financial news platform for African-Americans.
Perry told the audience about a three-year IRS audit that cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars in accounting fees to make sure he was in compliance.
“And I am getting so mad, and so frustrated,” Perry said. “We get to the end of the audit and they, the IRS, owed me $9 million.”
His accountants, he said, were excited, saying, “Oh, my God! Isn’t that great? Isn’t this great.”
He did not share their excitement at the massive tax refund.
“No! He– no!,” Perry said. “How did you miss me paying $9 million?”
He fired his team of accountants.
“Everybody gone!” he said. “I had to stop going to H&R block for my taxes at some point.”