Boost to Tax-Recovery Suit by AIG Shareholder

WASHINGTON (CN) – AIG’s major Swiss shareholder received a boost from a federal judge in its fight to recover $38 million in taxes it paid the U.S. government.
The dispute stems from a statute that taxes a foreign corporation’s dividend income at a rate of 30 percent, by statute, if the income is deemed sufficiently connected to business activity in the United States.
Treaties that the United States maintains with various countries, including Switzerland, could lower this rate, but the secretary of the U.S. Treasury refused to grant such benefits to Swiss-domiciled Starr International Co., which was once AIG’s largest shareholder.
Starr filed its $38 million tax-refund suit – amounting to half of its withholdings on AIG dividends in 2007 – after the Internal Revenue Service denied its petition for discretionary benefits under the U.S.-Swiss tax treaty.

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