Anschutz, IRS lock horns again in latest joust
billionaire's legal battle with the government is at least his
seventh since 1987.
By Greg Griffin
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Philip Anschutz's ongoing dispute with the Internal Revenue
Service isn't his first battle with the tax man.
Anschutz and his companies have sued the IRS at least seven
times since 1987, according to U.S. Tax Court records. Five of
those cases were settled.
In 2006, Anschutz won the only case that went to trial. The IRS
claimed that Qwest improperly accounted for the cost of building
its fiber-optic network from 1994 to 1996. Qwest was a private
company owned by Anschutz at that time.
Anschutz, a Denver-based multibillionaire industrialist and
investor, is now fighting the government over taxes it says he
improperly deferred on transactions involving his Union Pacific
Corp. shares in 2000 and 2001.
The IRS claims Anschutz sold the shares and should have
immediately paid taxes on the proceeds of $429.7 million;
Anschutz claims the transactions were not a sale and that taxes
would be due only upon sale of the shares in 2009 and 2010.
Anschutz filed suit against the IRS after the agency demanded
payment. Filed in August 2007, the suit puts the disputed tax
amount at $113.6 million. The Wall Street Journal reported that
the agency is seeking $143.6 million.
Trial is scheduled for June 23 in
In the Qwest case that Anschutz won, the IRS tried to prove that
the company cut its tax bill by using an accounting method that
reduced its reported income.
Forbes reported in 2003 that the disputed tax amount was $14.8
million. Qwest said in a filing in 2005 that its liability and
costs in the case could have been as high as $57 million.
Greg Griffin: 303-954-1241 or