Assessment Called Improper Application Of Commercial Tax
Billionaire investor Warren Buffet recently complained that his
secretary pays a higher income tax rate than he does. Apparently
missing the fact that the US Treasury would more than welcome his
voluntary contributions, his comments provided fodder for the "one
The IRS responded with increased attention on Buffett's
investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway, and decided it does indeed owe
some back taxes. Berkshire's NetJets subsidiary has been assessed
$643 million in back taxes, and NetJets has now responded with a
lawsuit against the IRS, claiming the assessment is "illegal."
The Wall Street Journal reports the IRS has determined that
NetJets had failed to collect a "ticket tax" from its
customers—the same tax that's paid by passengers on a
commercial flights. NetJets responds that the tax is meant to be
paid only by commercial or charter passengers. NetJets clients are
actually part-owners of the planes on which they fly.
In the suit itself, the company says, "The IRS's assessments in
this case improperly extend application of the ticket tax beyond
commercial airline and charter passengers, to persons who own the
aircraft on which they fly." It also notes that its competitors
have not been required to pay the tax.