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Friday, February 25, 2005

Tax schemes saved 61 top firms $3.4B

USA Today Reports... (Published by Yahoo News)

Excerpt: Fortune 500 companies took advantage of abusive tax shelters sold to them by their auditors to avoid $1.8 billion in federal taxes from 1998 through 2003, the Government Accountability Office reported Thursday.

During that time, the GAO said, 61 Fortune 500 companies avoided a total of $3.4 billion in taxes through auditor-inspired tax schemes, sometimes while providing tax advice to their top executives.

Sen. Carl Levin (news, bio, voting record), D-Mich., said the GAO report highlights the need for stronger auditor-independence rules. He said Ernst & Young's work for Sprint and its executives in 2000 was an example of "serious conflict of interest problems that can arise from this situation."

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