Caterpillar Inc.’s Wall Street plummet in stock Thursday was considered an after-effect of federal authorities abruptly raiding three of the construction giant’s Illinois facilities.
Though Sharon Paul of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Illinois’ Central Distict confirmed the presence of federal agents on the site of Caterpillar buildings, she did not divulge the reasoning. However, Caterpillar released a statement this afternoon suggesting the company’s current involvement in an IRS investigation as primary causation for a search of its locations.
A segment of Caterpillar’s statement read, “…while the warrant is broadly drafted, we believe the execution of this search warrant is regarding, among other things, export filings that relate to the CSARL matter first disclosed in Caterpillar’s Form 10-K filed on February 17, 2015, and updated in Caterpillar’s most recent Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 15, 2017.”
CSARL refers to Caterpillar’s manufacturing conglomerate in Switzerland, which the IRS has subjected to $2 billion in fines and other payments. Once before the topic of Congressional discussions, CSARL had already been confirmed as an offshore excuse to transfer profits and avoid taxes.
An IRS report read “…from 2000 to 2012, Caterpillar shifted to CSARL in Switzerland taxable income from its non-U.S. parts sales totaling more than $8 billion, and deferred or avoided paying U.S. taxes totaling about $2.4 billion.”
Caterpillar, is “vigorously contesting” the report, saying, “We believe that the relevant transactions complied with applicable tax laws and did not violate judicial doctrines.”
The presence of agents ranged from the IRS’ Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security’s Office of Export Enforcement, and the FDIC’s Office of Inspector General. The actions and subsequent investigation into Caterpillar’s three Illinois buildings in Peoria, East Peoria and Morton saw the equipment manufacturer’s stock dip by 4.3% at today’s close.
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