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Symantec Gets Tax Bill of $1 Billion

While some may have had to pay quite a bit back to Uncle Sam this year, not many will owe as much as security software firm Symantec. The company disclosed late Monday that it had received notice from the Internal Revenue Service saying it owes up to $1 billion in back taxes and penalties.

The $900 million in taxes plus interest and penalties are mostly due to back taxes owed by Veritas, a company Symantec purchased for $10 billion in July 2005. Veritas owed taxes for the 2000 and 2001 tax years, a fact that was discovered after an audit.

However, an additional audit Symantec itself has turned up an additional $100 million in taxes from the 2003 and 2004 years. That total excludes interest and penalties.

Symantec said it would contest the judgment and planned to file a petition. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it would not make any payments until the issue was definitely resolved.

“[Symantec] strongly believes the IRS positions with regard to these matters are inconsistent with applicable tax laws and existing Treasury regulations, and that its previously reported income tax provision for the years in question is appropriate,” it said in the filing.

The security software company has seen its stock price drop precipitously since December 2004, when it first announced the Veritas acquisition. Since then, its shares have dropped some 40 percent. Additionally, several of Symantec’s high-ranking executives have also left the company.

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