Thursday, May 14, 2015
Wall Street Journal, Top Republican Sides With Microsoft in IRS Offshore-Profits Scuffle:
A top Republican lawmaker is siding with Microsoft Corp. in its legal scuffle with the Internal Revenue Service involving profits the firm has parked offshore.
In a letter on Wednesday, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) questioned the IRS’s unusual decision last year to hire a private law firm to help it go after the high-tech giant.
“The IRS’s hiring of a private contractor to conduct an examination of a taxpayer raises concerns because the action: 1) appears to violate federal law and the express will of the Congress; 2) removes taxpayer protections … and 3) calls into question the IRS’s use of its limited resources,” Mr. Hatch wrote in the letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
The lawmaker asked the agency to stop using the contractor and also to explain its actions to the committee.
Last year, the IRS hired a private law firm specializing in litigation, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, to help in its audit of Microsoft’s returns. Some tax experts say the agency’s decision to hire a litigation specialist could be aimed at dialing up pressure on Microsoft to settle the high-stakes case.