Ford Motor Co. (F) can’t collect $445 million in interest on overpayment of income taxes, an appeals court ruled, saying the Internal Revenue Service didn’t improperly calculate what the company was owed.
Ford sued the U.S. in 2008, claiming that the government shortchanged the auto company on interest accrued on overpayment of corporate income taxes from 1983 to 1989 and in 1992 and 1994. A federal judge in Detroit rejected Ford’s claim in 2010, agreeing with the government that the U.S. had correctly calculated the interest Ford was due on the overpayment.
Ford asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to overturn the decision, contending that U.S. revenue procedure required interest to accrue from the time the company deposited money with the Internal Revenue Service. The appeals court today ruled that revenue procedure couldn’t be used to support the company’s argument.
“We are unwilling to place so much weight upon an interpretive aid that binds neither IRS nor this court,” U.S. Circuit Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote. The procedure cited “does not even enjoy the status of an agency regulation,” she said.
Jay Cooney, Ford spokesman, declined to comment immediately on the court’s decision.
The case is Ford Motor Co. v U.S., 10-1934, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Cincinnati).
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