Thursday, November 1, 2007

Wal-Mart Moves To Seal Public Tax Records

NEW YORK, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, is looking to block public access to certain court documents in a tax dispute with North Carolina state authorities, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
According to the newspaper's online edition, Wal-Mart filed a motion Tuesday with a North Carolina state judge requesting to have a host of future filings in the case sealed. Past filings wouldn't be affected, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Representatives from Wal-Mart were not immediately available to comment.
North Carolina's attorney general is challenging Wal-Mart's tax cutting structure involving real-estate investment trusts, the newspaper said.
The company transferred ownership of its stores a decade ago to various in-house REITs -- according to the Wall Street Journal -- and then reduced the tax bill by claiming deductions for store-rent payments which never left the company.
The newspaper said a Wal-Mart spokesman declined to comment. (Reporting by Justin Grant, editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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