Caterpillar to 'vigorously' contest IRS penalties of roughly $2.3B
In a regulatory filing, Caterpillar said that, on January 31, 2018, it received a Revenue Agent's Report from the IRS indicating the end of the field examination of its U.S. income tax returns for 2010 to 2012. In the audits of 2007 to 2012 including the impact of a loss carryback to 2005, the IRS has proposed to tax in the United States profits earned from certain parts transactions by CSARL, based on the IRS examination team's application of the "substance-over-form" or "assignment-of-income" judicial doctrines. The company said it is "vigorously" contesting the proposed increases to tax and penalties for these years of approximately $2.3B. "We believe that the relevant transactions complied with applicable tax laws and did not violate judicial doctrines," Caterpillar said. "We have filed U.S. income tax returns on this same basis for years after 2012. Based on the information currently available, we do not anticipate a significant increase or decrease to our unrecognized tax benefits for this matter within the next 12 months. We currently believe the ultimate disposition of this matter will not have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial position, liquidity or results of operations. With the exception of a loss carryback to 2005, tax years prior to 2007 are generally no longer subject to U.S. tax assessment. In our major non-U.S. jurisdictions including Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, Singapore and the U.K., tax years are typically subject to examination for three to ten years. Due to the uncertainty related to the timing and potential outcome of audits, we cannot estimate the range of reasonably possible change in unrecognized tax benefits in the next 12 months."