Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., who made upward of $250 million from fighting Manny Pacquiao in 2015, is facing a $22 million tax lien from the IRS, according to documents obtained Tuesday by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The lien on Mayweather, who has had several liens against him over the years, was filed in Clark County on March 6. The boxer appears to be taking advantage of a tax law to delay having to pay the IRS until he gets money from his boxing match against UFC superstar Conor McGregor, said Las Vegas-based tax attorney Bob Grossman.
The law provides Mayweather the right to a collection due process hearing.
“He knows that it will take more than 60 days for IRS to give him a collection due process hearing,” said Grossman, a former IRS senior trial attorney and currently a tax attorney at the Tax Law Center. “Interesting move and may explain why he’s fighting again after he retired twice.”
Mayweather, 40, brushed off his taxes situation after a Tuesday news conference in Los Angeles to promote the Aug. 26 bout at T-Mobile Arena with McGregor.
“Don’t worry about that,” Mayweather said. “My tax attorney will take care of all that. I ain’t worried about that. I just showed y’all a $100 million check, I ain’t even cashed, on stage. We ain’t tripping on that.”
The undefeated boxer grabbed the check from his backpack and waved it to the crowd inside Staples Center.
“Let me show y’all what a $100 million fighter look like,” Mayweather screamed while flashing his nine-figure paycheck. “Still got $100 million, and I ain’t never touched this.”
McGregor poked fun at Mayweather’s money issues during the news conference, but later said it wasn’t a laughing matter.
“He continually said he did this fight for the fans,” McGregor said. “The fans wanted this fight, and that’s why we give them this fight. But in reality, that’s not the case. The reason he came out of retirement and accepted this fight is he had to. He’s in a dire situation, and that’s not a good situation to be in. Am I going to get up here and laugh at his situation? No, I’m not. I wish him smart with the money he makes from this fight.”
Mayweather filed a tax court petition July 5 asking for a reprieve until after the McGregor fight.
“He does not say he does not owe or can’t pay, he says he has insufficient liquidity to pay now,” Grossman said.
That’s not to be confused with being broke.
“Just because he can’t pay $22 million doesn’t mean he can’t pay $2 million,” Grossman said.
The purpose of thedue process hearingis not to delay collection but to let somebody articulate why they cannot pay or what the plan is to avoid collection, or to contest that any taxes are owed.
“It’s not to let people get extra time because of the inefficiency of the service in giving people hearings,” which “appears” to be what Mayweather is doing, Grossman said.
Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, declined to comment.
“Our tax attorney addressed that last night,” Ellerbe said. “He did a great interview on FightHype.com and completely explained and laid it out, and that is our statement, go there.”
Mayweather’s tax lawyer, Jeffrey Morse, told FightHype.com that the boxer was making a business decision by deferring his tax payment.
“First, Floyd always pays his taxes. Secondly, the Internal Revenue code and the Treasury regulations allow taxpayers to defer their tax liability in certain circumstances,” Morse said. “Floyd’s a savvy investor, and if he is investing money and getting a rate of return that far exceeds what he has to pay the IRS in interest, then any smart business person is going to take advantage of that deferral.
“So Floyd’s looking at this and saying this is a better business decision to just defer my taxes until it’s the best time for me to pay it. So we’ve taken advantage of that. We filed the petition for the whole purpose of allowing Floyd to continue to earn the money that he’s earning on his large investments and he’ll pay the tax.
“Again, I would stress that Floyd always pays his tax. He’s always working to be 100 percent tax compliant, but the rules allow us to do certain things and we utilize those rules, just like any other smart investor/tax payer.”
Mayweather has made approximately $700 million during his 21-year professional career, according to Forbes.
Mayweather, unbeaten in 49 fights, addressed his tax payment history in a Facebook post Monday night.
“Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear, especially when it comes to media in this country. While everyone is counting my money and assuming the worst, these are the facts,” Mayweather said. “Uncle Sam, received $26,000,000.00 from me in 2015! What else could they possibly want? I’m sure I would have been notified much sooner if there were any real discrepancies right? Bottom line, everybody just wants to be a part of the “Money May” show, including the IRS! That’s fine, you can crunch numbers all day but in the end, my empire is rock solid and intact! Now Calculate That!”
Dana Rutkin contributed to this report. Gilbert Manzano can be contacted at gmanzano@reviewjournal. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.