Matsushita puts end to taxing issue

Japanese electronics giant Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. yesterday announced an agreement with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to head off disputes over whether it is over-reporting costs to evade American taxes.

Could set example

Other Japanese companies are expected to follow suit, amid expectations in Japan that President-elect Bill Clinton will impose tougher tax requirements on U.S. subsids of Japanese companies.

Japanese press reports said Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. paid a $ 4.8 million tax supplement in response to IRS charges that the company had set prices of video recorders imported by its subsidiary too high in an attempt to evade U.S. corporate taxes.

Under the Advance Pricing Agreement, which took effect in March 1991, the IRS can assess corporate data to decide appropriate prices for parts and products imported by U.S. subsidiaries.

Once such prices are decided, it cannot raise any dispute over them to seek additional tax payments.

Akira Nagano, a Matsushita spokesman, said the company believed avoiding future tax disputes was worth compromising some classified data on prices.

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