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IRS accuses Caterpillar of owing $2 billion in back taxes after Illinois raids

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NEW YORK — Federal prosecutors executed a search warrant at several Caterpillar facilities Thursday seeking “documents and electronic information” in connection with the company’s taxes, Caterpillar said.

Caterpillar said the warrant is “broadly drafted,” but the company believes officials are seeking information regarding CSARL, the company’s Swiss subsidiary.

“Caterpillar is cooperating with law enforcement,” the statement said.

The IRS has accused the company of owing $2 billion in back taxes, believing the company shifted money to CSARL between 2007 and 2012 to avoid U.S. taxes.

Caterpillar has denied that allegation, and in it’s latest annual report, filed February 15, the company said it is “vigorously contesting” the IRS on the issue.

Federal officials declined to provide details regarding the search warrant.

The company’s stock was down 4.3% when the markets closed Thursday.

Illinois-based Caterpillar manufactures construction and mining equipment. It has a market value of about $58 billion.

Caterpillar has come under federal scrutiny before.

In 2014, a Senate subcommittee asserted that the company avoided or deferred $2.4 billion in taxes over the course of 13 years. The subcommittee accused the company of shifting its profits to its Swiss affiliate in order to dodge U.S. taxes. At the time, Caterpillar denied any wrongdoing.

Also in its latest annual report, the company disclosed that a grand jury issued a subpoena in January 2015, requesting “documents and information among other things, financial information concerning U.S. and non-U.S. Caterpillar subsidiaries.”

Additional subpoenas have also been issued related to that investigation. Officials have sought information regarding “the purchase and resale of replacement parts by Caterpillar,” dividend distributions and more, according to the filing.

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