August 5, 2009

Lehman’s tax bill raises questions

New York City's attempt to claim $627 million in back taxes from Lehman Brothers in bankruptcy court does not imply lax procedures, a city official said.

Although court filings claim Lehman Brothers fell behind on its taxes in 1996, we have vigorously pursued the taxes owed by Lehman and other financial-services firms, Sam Miller, an assistant commissioner at the city's Department of Finance told The New York Times Wednesday.

Others have questioned the city's enforcement of tax policies, suggesting the city has a wink-wink, nudge-nudge arrangement because of how important Wall Street is to the city, David Skeel Jr., professor of corporate law at the University of Pennsylvania said.

While the city attempts to push its way toward the front of the creditor line in Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy, corporate bankruptcy attorney Stephen Selbst asked how the corporation's tax bill got so large.

How did the city get to the point where the city was looking at so many tax years and so much money, he asked.