Kanye West’s Yeezy brand owes $600,000 in unpaid taxes to California, report says

Kanye West’s fashion brand Yeezy owes $600,000 in unpaid taxes to the state of California, NBC News reported Wednesday.

The state of California has issued multiple tax liens over the last two years to Yeezy Apparel, a company managed and reportedly owned by Ye, according to government records obtained by NBC News.

A tax lien is a legal claim made on an individual or business’s assets due to unpaid debts. California’s Franchise Tax Board states that a lien may be imposed if a company or taxpayer doesn’t “respond to our letters, pay in full, or set a payment plan”.

The first notice letter was sent in July 2021, followed by one in February and in September of this year.

California public records show Yeezy Apparel has been operating in the state since 2017, and was reported as being in “good” standing in an annual filing last January. The brand is one of five Yeezy companies based in California and managed by Ye.

California has imposed 17 other tax liens against three of Ye’s businesses, and a charity in his name, dating back as far back as 2012, per NBC News. Four of these liens were labelled active “with no indication of them having been terminated or paid,” according to the outlet. While a representative for the California Employment Development Department said it could not comment on taxpayer information, experts agreed that the tax liens most likely “pertained to payroll taxes”.

The tax lien comes as Kanye West faces major financial losses following a string of controversies and antisemitic comments. Adidas, Balenciaga, and Cap were among the companies to cut ties with the rapper in October, after he made a number of comments targeted at Jewish people – claiming was going to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE”.

Following the loss of Yeezy’s partnership with Adidas, Forbes stripped Ye of his billionaire status from $2bn (£1.74bn) to $400m (£348m).

On 28 November, West claimed that he owed “around $50m” in taxes during an interview for the Timecast IRL podcast. The rapper said that four of his bank accounts have been blocked by the IRS due to him owing millions in “taxes” and only found out about the debt that same morning.

“I’m talking about literally finding out that they were trying to put me in prison this morning,” he said. “But I found out – OK, so they froze, they put a $75m hold on four of my accounts. And then they said, ‘You owe a lot of taxes.’”

West went on to say that after “six hours” of trying to find out how much he owed, he estimated the amount was “around $50m” (around £40.1m).

Meanwhile, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian finally reached a divorce settlement of $200k (£167k) per month in child support payments from West to Kardashian.