Robert Redford Sues New York State Over $1.6 Million Tax Bill Related to Sundance Channel Sale

8:36 AM PST 08/06/2014 by Kimberly Nordyke
Associated Press
Robert Redford

The actor claims he paid the taxes in Utah and doesn't owe any more money.

Robert Redford is suing New York state related to the sale of Sundance Channel.

The actor-director sued the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance in Albany County Supreme Court on July 30 claiming that he's being overtaxed on money his company made when it sold off a stake in the channel in 2005.

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According to Courthouse News Service, Redford is being taxed $1.6 million by New York ($845,066 in taxes plus $727,404 in interest owed) on the money he made. But Redford, a Utah resident, says he paid taxes on the revenue in Utah and therefore doesn't owe New York.

He is seeking "a declaratory ruling on a pure question of law concerning the constitutionality of imposing on plaintiff, a nonresident of the State of New York, a personal income tax on the gain derived from the sale of an ownership interest in a limited liability company," according to the complaint.

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The lawsuit deals with the nuances of an "S corporation," which aren't owned by a large amount of stockholders but rather are closely held with profits passing to individual owners. These owners, in turn, report profits and losses on their own individual income tax. Redford says he did that on his own personal tax returns in Utah from 2005. Now, he's concerned about double taxation if forced to account for the passive S Corporation that once controlled Sundance Channel. Redford's complaint paints his corporate assets as not holding "any property, payroll or receipts, located in or deemed attributable to the conduct of a trade or business in New York."

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Redford is asking for a judgment that he doesn't owe the money, plus attorneys' fees and costs.

In 2008, Redford and his Sundance Channel partners NBCUniversal and CBS Corp. sold Sundance Channel to Cablevision's Rainbow Media, which was later spun off and renamed AMC Networks, in a $496 million deal. The network was rebranded as SundanceTV earlier this year.

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