IRS Fights Major Biotech Firm Over $10.7 Billion Tax Bill

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is fighting major biotech firm, Amgen, over a $10.7 billion tax bill the company hasn’t paid after improperly shifting assets to a subsidiary based in Puerto Rico.

The IRS alleges that the biotech giant transferred approximately $24 billion in profits between 2010 and 2015, leaving them with $10.7 billion in back taxes. 

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the ongoing legal battle between the government agency and the drug corporation:

Amgen’s dispute with the IRS is the latest example of heightened government scrutiny of the international tax practices of pharmaceutical, technology and other companies.

For Amgen, the dispute has pressured its share price and raised the risk that its tax rate could rise significantly going forward if the IRS prevails.

Amgen has long had one of the lowest tax rates in the pharmaceutical industry, reporting a median 12.5% effective tax rate over the past decade, compared with an 18% median rate across the 10 largest U.S. drug companies, according to FactSet data.

An Amgen spokeswoman shared a statement with WSJ, specifically saying, “Our tax returns have always been compliant with the law and reflect our position that the appropriate allocation [taking into account the “equity value of our Puerto Rico subsidiary”] has not changed.”

The IRS, in keeping with its standard protocol, has not commented on the litigation. It is known, however, that the tax agency is currently auditing Amgen’s returns from 2016 through 2018, so additional tax penalties may be coming for the Big Pharma firm. 

Amgen bills itself as a “worldwide pioneer in biotechnology,” and is known for manufacturing medications like migraine prevention injection Aimovig and arthritis treatment Enbrel.

The corporation describes itself as:

Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people’s lives. A biotechnology innovator since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.

You can watch a video detailing Amgen’s “Biology First” approach below:


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