• Company is still run from Michigan despite 2009 address change
  • Victory may save auto-parts maker $100 million a year in taxes

Delphi Automotive Plc said it won a long-running dispute with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service over whether the parts maker, which is run from a Detroit suburb, should be allowed to call itself British for tax purposes.

The IRS on April 8 dropped an effort to tax Delphi as a U.S. company, Delphi said in a regulatory filing Wednesday. The victory may have spared the company as much as $100 million a year in taxes.

The former auto-parts arm of Detroit-based General Motors Co., Delphi changed its legal address in 2009 as part of a plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection. Under the deal, creditors including GM and a group of U.S. hedge funds purchased most of Delphi’s assets through a newly formed English entity.

The U.S. Treasury, which had bailed out GM amid a collapse in the U.S. auto market, took part in the negotiations and authorized GM to release Treasury funds to pay for its portion of the deal.

Since going public in 2011, Delphi has claimed that its tax address is in a diesel plant and research compound in an industrial park about an hour’s train ride east of London. Most of its top executives continue to work from its Troy, Michigan, offices.

In a regulatory filing in February, Delphi said that a loss in the IRS case would increase its long-term effective tax rate to about 20 percent or 22 percent, from about 17. Analysts estimate Delphi will earn about $2.1 billion before taxes this year, translating to a savings of $63 million to $105 million.

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