Breaking Down Facebook’s $9 Billion Tax Fight With IRS (Podcast)

Oct. 22, 2021, 8:45 AM

Facebook’s long-running tax dispute with the IRS finally resumed this month after a lengthy delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,

The social media giant is fighting IRS allegations that the company undervalued intangible assets that were allocated to its Irish subsidiary. It is one of a string of high-profile cases the IRS is fighting against multinationals over transfer pricing—the value of assets transferred among related corporate entities.

The U.S. Tax Court recently heard five days of in-person testimony in Washington and the case is scheduled to shift back to San Francisco early next year. Although the trial focuses only on Facebook’s 2010 tax returns, the company has estimated a loss could result in an overall tax liability in the neighborhood of $9 billion, plus interest and penalties.

On this episode of our weekly Talking Tax podcast, reporters Jeffery Leon and Aysha Bagchi talk with a pair of tax attorneys who are tracking the Facebook case. Loren Ponds, former majority tax counsel to the House Ways and Means Committee, is now a member with Miller & Chevalier in Washington. Irina Pisareva, a partner with Crowell & Moring LLP in New York, has a quarter-century of experience advising on transaction tax and cross-border tax issues.

Our guests dig into the Facebook case, how it differs from a high-profile IRS loss against Amazon.com Inc., and what the court might decide on this long-running legal dispute.

Listen to the episode here and subscribe to Talking Tax on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jeffery Leon in Washington at jleon@bloombergindustry.com; Aysha Bagchi in Washington at abagchi@bloombergtax.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Patrick Ambrosio at pambrosio@bloombergtax.com; Yuri Nagano at ynagano@bloombergtax.com

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