Prince told to rock his way down to the tax office

The legendary star has been delinquent on taxes before but eventually paid up.

Minnesota's Purple One is in the red to Carver County.

Prince owes more than $500,000 in back taxes, interest and fines on a dozen properties, including $221,891.88 on Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, where the Minneapolis-born rock and film star also has a home. He's among dozens of other delinquent property owners in the county who owe taxes due in 2009 and had their names and property information published in the Chaska Herald last week. The money generated from those taxes are split among school districts, cities, the county and sometimes the state, depending on the property.

No other property owner listed in the paper comes close to what the county says Prince needs to cough up. Prince's home and other properties establish him as one of the largest property owners in Chanhassen, making the taxes he owes the city a significant chunk of change.

Asked to comment about the delinquencies, a Prince representative said it's unlikely Prince would have a response.

County officials also haven't heard from him about his late payments. As required, the county sent Prince a notification letter on Feb. 15 about the delinquencies, said taxpayer services manager Laurie Engelen. She said she and others are unaware of Prince responding to either the letter or the published list.

This isn't the first time Prince has procrastinated in paying property taxes. He was late in paying on his studio in 2006 and 2008, Engelen said. And he was late in 2008 paying on a 156-acre swath bordering his home. But he made good on those bills before the county, as required by law, published its notice of delinquent taxes in the local papers, Engelen said.

Prince, more renowned as an artist than businessman, has had financial difficulties in the past with paying creditors on time or at all, according to published reports in 1995.

The back taxes on four Carver County properties listed under Paisley Park Enterprises totals $24,085; seven properties listed under Prince R. Nelson total $260,485; and one property listed to PRN Music Corp. totals $221,891.

Unless Prince pays up, the county will file the delinquency with the court in May, Engelen said. But tax forfeiture on most of the properties wouldn't occur for three years, she said.

"The vast majority of cases never get to forfeiture," Engelen said.

The reasons for late tax payments vary, she said. Oftentimes, property owners say they're delinquent because of financial and medical hardships, Engelen said.

pwalsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482 mlsmith@startribune.com • 612-673-4788

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