IRS Tells Anschutz To Pony Up

Philip Anschutz is being targeted by the Internal Revenue Service.

The taxing agency is trying to force the mogul to ante up on alleged back taxes totaling $143.6 million as part of a wider effort to crack down on taxpayers attempting to defer payment on capital gains taxes through use of complex transactions.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the IRS is tangling with Anschutz over shares he owned in Union Pacific Corp. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. in 2000 and 2001. The cash, and a share in future rises in stock prices, allegedly had a value of about $429 million, and Anschutz reportedly had protections in place should those stock prices fall.

He contends the deals weren’t technically completed sales for tax purposes and didn’t create any tax obligations – so he hasn’t paid capital gains taxes on the transactions, according to U.S. Tax Court filings cited by the WSJ. The IRS begs to differ.

Anschutz isn’t facing such IRS scrutiny alone. Executives at companies including IAC/InterActiveCorp, Cablevision Systems, Starbucks, Costco Wholesale, Tyson Foods, and others reportedly all used similar "variable prepaid forward contracts" to cash in shares, the paper reports.