Thursday, October 2, 2014
NetJets, an Ohio-based Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary specializing in jet rental and timeshare ownership of private aircraft, sued the IRS in 2011 for relief after claiming it overpaid more than $600 million in ticket taxes that apply to the commercial carrier category – but not to private plane owners who travel in their fractionally-owned planes.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, the government countersued NetJets for failing to “pay its federal tax liabilities…in full.”
“Congress amended the tax code in 2012, clarifying that the ticket tax does not apply to operators such as NetJets, whose customers buy fractional ownership in planes operated and maintained by NetJets,” the Dispatch reported Wednesday.
NetJets alleged in a recent filing that important evidence in the case stored on three IRS employees’ computers had been completely erased, “including the computer of ‘an excise-tax policy manager and a key decision maker regarding the application of the section 4261 ticket tax to whole and fractional aircraft-management companies,’” the Dispatch reported.
That data, the filing alleges, included emails “and other electronic documents that the Government was required to produce” – data that NetJets claims would demonstrate the company’s compliance with the tax code.
On its face, this allegation has nothing to do with partisan political bullying and everything to do with squeezing dollars out of U.S.-based businesses and their customers. If the IRS is guilty of destroying data to cover its partisan political machinations, is it far-fetched to imagine the agency wouldn’t also go to similar lengths to preserve its ability to overreach its enforcement authority?