The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is facing a court challenge over hundreds of millions of dollars in payments related to the multi-billion dollar sale of Optus to Singtel.
The $452.45 million claim, by UK telco Cable & Wireless, is one of the largest to be brought against the ATO, according to the Australian Financial Review.
The case goes back to 2001 when Cable & Wireless sold 82% of its holding in Optus for $6.2 billion as part of a share buyback offer. That valued Optus at $17 billion.
According to papers lodged in the Federal Court, Cable & Wireless says that of the $586.9 million deposited to pay tax, only $134.5 million was actually payable.
The ATO had ruled that about $3.9 billion of the amount paid to Cable & Wireless was a dividend and taxed at 15%.
However, Cable & Wireless argues that this was an error.
The matter goes before Justice Richard Edmonds in the NSW Federal Court next month.
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