Crown Resorts Ltd, a casino operator in Australia and with investments in Asia, said it would dispute a tax claim and penalties from the Australian Taxation Office.
The company on Monday said it has received “amended assessments” from the Australian Taxation Office for approximately AUD250 million (US$178.9 million), which it said comprised primary tax and interest.
The amended assessments are in respect of income tax paid for the financial years ending June 30, 2009 to 2014, the firm said in a filing to the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday. It added that the assessments relate to “the tax treatment of some of the financing for Crown’s investment in Cannery Casino Resorts and other investments in North America”.
“Crown is a significant taxpayer in Australia and disputes the amended assessments,” the firm said.
Crown Resorts later on Monday filed a second statement saying it has received from the tax agency a separate notice of penalties of about AUD112 million, “making a total claim of approximately AUD362 million”.
“Crown reiterates that it considers it has paid the correct amount of tax and intends to pursue all available avenues of objection (including, if necessary, court proceedings) to the amended assessments,” the company said in the second filing.
Nevada-based Cannery Casino Resorts LLC was to be Crown Resorts main vehicle into the U.S. market. Cannery Casino Resorts operates the Cannery Casino and East Side Cannery in Las Vegas, Nevada; and the Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the United States.
In 2009, the Australian company abandoned a US$1.8-billion deal to acquire Cannery Casino Resorts but it still holds a 24.5-percent stake in the latter firm.
In fiscal 2015, Crown Resorts did not receive any profits or recognise any earnings from Cannery Casino Resorts and wrote down the value of its investment, resulting in an AUD55.9 million impairment charge.
Crown Resorts – majority-owned by billionaire James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings Pty Ltd – owns a 34.3-percent stake in Asian casino developer and operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.
Mr Packer stepped down as a director of Crown Resorts in December, only four months after he resigned as chairman. He remains as co-chairman of Melco Crown and as co-chairman of Alon, a Las Vegas casino resort project.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China