IKEA, the huge Swedish home furnishings retailer, has decided to take tax collectors in Oslo to court over a disputed tax bill for NOK 123 million (USD 20.5 million), despite paying the state’s claim earlier this year. The tax claim arose from an audit of IKEA’s tax returns from 2008 to 2012.
An IKEA spokesman told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) on Friday that an ensuing conflict over the tax claim with regional tax agency Skatt Øst had not been resolved. “We have unfortunately failed to come to agreement, and the case will therefore be decided in the court system,” Jan-Christian Thommesen of IKEA wrote in an email to DN.
The Norwegian tax authorities launched an investigation into IKEA’s Norwegian operations in 2012 and last year determined that IKEA needed to pay tax on another NOK 439 million of its revenues. That resulted in the tax bill of NOK 123 million. Neither the authorities nor IKEA have revealed details about the claim, but it’s believed to stem from an earlier restructuring of IKEA’s Norwegian operations.
At issue, according to Thommesen, is whether IKEA had the right to deduct interest payments as it did, while the tax authorities maintain it didn’t. “We believe the interest IKEA pays gives the right to tax deductions, and that we have paid tax in accordance with all laws and regulations,” Thommesen told DN. The case is due to be heard in the Oslo city court (Oslo tingrett) in November.