Damon Dash Talks $3 Million Tax Debt

Roc-A-Fella co-founder opens up on Shade 45's 'Sway in the Morning.'

The once-flamboyant Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder [artist id="1463146"]Damon Dash[/artist] is now in debt. In July, The Detroit News reported that the music mogul and Jay-Z’s former business partner owes almost $3 million in back taxes, according to a tax lien filed June 30.

On Friday, Dash visited the “Sway in the Morning” radio show on Shade 45 and spoke to host and MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway about his recent troubles with the IRS. After being asked about owing “$2 million,” Dash quickly set the record straight: “I owe way more than $2 million in taxes. That must’ve just been the IRS,” Dash said, laughing, before admitting that he was in a bad space financially. “Nah, nah, I’m f—ed up.”

Dame made his mark alongside Jay-Z and Kareem “Biggs” Burke in the mid-1990s. After the trio founded Roc-A-Fella Records and released a few street singles, they dropped Jay-Z’s debut album, Reasonable Doubt, in 1996 and embarked on a storied run. In the following years, Roc-A-Fella would continue to put out records from Hov and also introduce new artists such as Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel and, of course, Kanye West. By 2005, however, it all came crashing down, and Jay-Z parted ways with Dash and Burke, leaving them on the outside looking in.

Dash has since started new business ventures, and on Friday, the DD172 CEO told Sway that when it comes to his tax troubles, he just doesn’t have the money. It isn’t because he is broke, Dame insisted, but rather because he redistributes his money back into his many companies, choosing to reinvest instead of making a profit off the top. “It’s the price of business; it is what it is,” he explained. “I owe taxes: I got to pay.

“They’re auditing me. When you’re a business man, you have a lot of businesses, a lot of times they think you’re laundering money or you’re pretending you’re writing things off that you don’t,” he continued. “I’m a true businessman. As you know, I believe in my independence, I have no partners, so every dollar I make goes right back into every business I have.”

Dash charges that the audit is a result of his accountant’s failure to itemize his expenses. “If I have an accountant that just reports I just invested $10 million in my business and he doesn’t exactly itemize where every cost goes, it gives a flag to the government,” he said. “They want to make sure that the reason I’m not paying taxes is because I’m reinvesting in these businesses and not trying to hide stuff.”

Now, DD has to wait until the government goes through his books. H said he thinks it might take a while before things are sorted out. “They gotta look at every single transaction, and the government is slow,” he said. “They really don’t believe that I’m so real about putting all of my money into my business, but that’s what I do.”

Catch MTV News’ Sway Calloway on “Sway in the Morning,” on SiriusXM Radio’s Shade 45, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon ET.

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