Senator says Caterpillar avoided billions in taxes

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Executives from manufacturing giant Caterpillar Inc. are heading to Capitol Hill to explain what one senator calls an aggressive strategy to avoid paying billions in U.S. taxes.

Sen. Carl Levin says Caterpillar has avoided paying $2.4 billion in U.S. taxes since 2000 by shifting profits to a wholly-controlled affiliate in Switzerland.

Levin chairs the Senate investigations subcommittee. His panel is holding a hearing Tuesday on Caterpillar's taxes. Representatives from Caterpillar and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP are scheduled to testify.

A report released by Levin says Caterpillar paid PricewaterhouseCoopers $55 million to develop its tax strategy.

Julie Lagacy, a Caterpillar vice president, said the company complies with all tax laws. She said Caterpillar pays an effective income tax rate of 29 percent, among the highest for multinational manufacturers.

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