Buffett’s NetJets Countersued by U.S. for Unpaid Taxes

NetJets Inc., the private-plane company owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), was countersued by the U.S. over $366 million in taxes and penalties.

NetJets in November sued the U.S., saying the federal government had wrongly imposed taxes, interest and penalties totaling more than $642.7 million.

Claiming the federal Internal Revenue Service wrongfully assessed a so-called ticket tax -- an excise tax on payments made in exchange for air transportation -- to private aircraft owners maintaining their own planes, the Columbus, Ohio-based company demanded refunds and abatements.

The federal government, in a revised answer and countersuit filed yesterday in federal court in Columbus, rejected NetJets’ claims and alleged that four of the company’s units owe unpaid taxes and penalties.

NetJets Aviation Inc. owes more than $302.1 million, and another unit, NetJets International, is liable for $52.9 million, the U.S. said. Executive Jet Management Inc. owes $10 million while NetJets Large Aircraft owes $1.19 million, the U.S. claimed.

“NetJets doesn’t comment on pending litigation,” General Counsel Colleen Nissl said in a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg News.

The case is NetJets Large Aircraft Inc. v. U.S., 11- cv-01023, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio (Columbus).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in Chicago at aharris16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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