Amgen in $3.6 billion transfer pricing dispute with the IRS

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Amgen, in a note to its financial statement for the quarterly period ended June 30, 2021, disclosed that it has been issued tax assessments of approximately $3.6b plus interest for tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012 by the IRS. Proposed adjustments for FY 2013, 2014 and 2015 has also been issued. 

The dispute relates to the allocation of profits between Amgen group entities in the United States and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

According to the note, Amgen has filed a petition in the U.S. Tax Court to contest the assessments.

 

4. Income taxes
The effective tax rates for the three and six months ended June 30, 2021, were 16.8% and 12.6%, respectively, compared with 11.2% and 10.4%, respectively, for the corresponding periods of the prior year.
The increase in our effective tax rate for the three and six months ended June 30, 2021, was primarily due to the non-deductible IPR&D expense arising from the acquisition of Five Prime. The effective tax rates differ from the federal statutory rate primarily as a result of foreign earnings from the Company’s operations conducted in Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States that is treated as a foreign jurisdiction for U.S. tax purposes, that are subject to a tax incentive grant through 2035. In addition, the Company’s operations conducted in Singapore are subject to a tax incentive grant through 2034. These earnings are also subject to U.S. tax at a reduced rate of 10.5%.
The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico imposes an excise tax on the gross intercompany purchase price of goods and services from our manufacturer in Puerto Rico. The rate of 4% is effective through December 31, 2027. We account for the excise tax as a manufacturing cost that is capitalized in inventory and expensed in cost of sales when the related products are sold. For U.S. income tax purposes, the excise tax results in foreign tax credits that are generally recognized in our provision for income taxes when the excise tax is incurred.
One or more of our legal entities file income tax returns in the U.S. federal jurisdiction, various U.S. state jurisdictions and certain foreign jurisdictions. Our income tax returns are routinely examined by tax authorities in those jurisdictions. Significant disputes may arise with tax authorities involving issues regarding the timing and amount of deductions, the use of tax credits and allocations of income and expenses among various tax jurisdictions because of differing interpretations of tax laws, regulations and relevant facts. In 2017, we received a Revenue Agent Report (RAR) and a modified RAR from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012 proposing significant adjustments that primarily relate to the allocation of profits between certain of our entities in the United States and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. We disagreed with the proposed adjustments and calculations and pursued a resolution with the IRS administrative appeals office. As previously reported, we were unable to reach resolution with the IRS appeals office. In July 2021, we filed a petition in the U.S. Tax Court to contest two duplicate Statutory Notices of Deficiency (Notices) for 2010, 2011 and 2012 that we received in May and July 2021. The duplicate Notices seek to increase our U.S. taxable income by an amount that would result in additional federal tax of approximately $3.6 billion, plus interest. Any additional tax that could be imposed would be reduced by up to approximately $900 million of repatriation tax previously accrued on our foreign earnings. In any event, we firmly believe that the IRS’s positions in the Notices are without merit and we will vigorously contest the Notices through the judicial process.
In addition, in 2020, we received an RAR and a modified RAR from the IRS for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015 also proposing significant adjustments that primarily relate to the allocation of profits between certain of our entities in the United States and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, similar to those proposed for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012. We disagree with the proposed adjustments and calculations and are pursuing resolution with the IRS administrative appeals office. We are currently under examination by the IRS for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018. We are also currently under examination by a number of other state and foreign tax jurisdictions.
Final resolution of these complex matters is not likely within the next 12 months. We believe our accrual for income tax liabilities is appropriate based on past experience, interpretations of tax law, application of the tax law to our facts and judgments about potential actions by tax authorities; however, due to the complexity of the provision for income taxes and uncertain resolution of these matters, the ultimate outcome of any tax matters may result in payments substantially greater than amounts accrued and could have a material adverse impact on our condensed consolidated financial statements. We are no longer subject to U.S. federal income tax examinations for the years ended on or before December 31, 2009.
During the three and six months ended June 30, 2021, the gross amounts of our unrecognized tax benefits (UTBs) increased $50 million and $110 million, respectively, as a result of tax positions taken during the current year. Substantially all of the UTBs as of June 30, 2021, if recognized, would affect our effective tax rate.

 

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