The billionaire family that owns Samsung is facing an absolutely stunning inheritance tax bill – perhaps the biggest in world history. The moment family scion Lee Kun-hee passed away in October 2020, an enormous tax bill became inevitable and unavoidable. Now, the Lee family has until the end of April 2021 (just a few more days) to reveal how they plan to pay off the nearly $10 BILLION inheritance tax bill.
One very viable idea to pay down part of the bill? Liquidate the family’s incredible art collection.
The Lee family has been building their impressive art collection over several decades. The collection can be traced back to Lee Kun-hee‘s father, Lee Byung-chull, the founder of Samsung. As he became wealthy, Lee Byung-chull began collecting a large number of ancient Korean artwork.
In the 1980s Byung-chull donated his collection to a museum named in his own honor.
Lee Kun-hee took a bigger is better approach to his art collecting. He created the Leeum museum to showcase his impressive collection which notably included Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Untitled (Black Figure)” and Gerhard Richter’s “Two Candles.”
Today the Lee family’s private art collection contains roughly 13,000 works from artists including Andy Warhol and South Korean artist Park Soo-keun. They also own Pablo Picasso’s “Dora Maar” and one of Claude Monet’s water lilies paintings.
The estimated value of the entire collection is $2.7 billion.
Not quite $10 billion, but enough to make a meaningful dent in the tax bill. But there’s a catch: Thanks to a South Korean law, they can only sell works by foreign artists to satisfy the debt. All pieces by Korean artists cannot be sold because they have been designated national treasures.
That obviously won’t stop the family from selling the Monet, the Basquiat and the Picasso.
Once a payment plan has been submitted and approved, the Lee family will have five years to pay off their massive inheritance tax.