Director and actor Tyler Perry opened up earlier this week about the time the IRS actually owed him money.
During an appearance at the 2022 Earn Your Leisure conference, Perry recounted to attendees some of the windfalls and pitfalls he’s encountered during his multi-decades career.
A clip of the moment at the Earn Your Leisure conference was posted to the podcast’s Instagram account.
“@tylerperry delivered a powerful message at @investfestival Atlanta this summer! The video recording of Invest Fest is available on our website,” the caption read. “We are headed to London to bring financial literacy across the pond! We are hosting the first-ever Invest Fest Europe at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall. Click the link in our bio under the Invest Fest Euro tab to get your tickets now! #investfesteuro 🇬🇧🇪🇺”
Perry, donning eyeglasses and a camouflage jacket with a black tee and pants, began by prefacing his success with a statement, “Money isn’t something that I had, and nobody taught me that taxes had to be paid. I didn’t go to college, but I paid for Harvard many times over in the mistakes that I made.”
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The 53-year-old mogul explained that he had hired accounts to help him get through an audit of his finances that wound up taking three years to complete. Perry also revealed that one IRS agent, in particular, had it out for him and pressed the Alex Cross director about how he spent his coins.
“So this audit went on for three years,” Perry said. “I’m spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in accounting with accountants for the audit, and I am getting so mad and so frustrated. We get to the end of the audit, and they, the IRS, owed me $9 million.”
He continued, “‘Why the h*ll is this going on?’ ‘What is it?’ And what I realized in my frustration is that ‘Wait a minute, there’s something to learn here. Sit back and just see where it goes.’”
Upon his accountants finishing the audit, they discovered that the government owed him $9 million.
The employees thought they had done a good thing, but Perry fired the team for missing the exorbitant amount of money.
“Everybody gone! I had to stop going to H&R block for my taxes at some point,” he joked with the conference’s audience. “I learned in progress, and it’s okay. Listen to me. In business, it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to learn. You have to learn, but don’t let it keep happening over and over again. That’s one thing about me. I’ll let you make a million mistakes, but you can’t do the same thing over and over again.”
“That’s how I run my business. Here’s the mistake. Let’s fix it; let’s move forward,” the director concluded.
Perry also disclosed that the IRS agent was taken off his case and replaced by a supervisor.