James Hardie to pay $153M to ATO

In June, the company said it could possibly have had a tax liability of up to $A230 million.The agreement comes after the finalisation of income tax audits conducted by the ATO and settles all outstanding issues arising from these tax audits.James Hardie said the agreed settlement was made without concessions or admissions of liability by either it or the ATO, but the settlement would involve James Hardie paying $A153 million. The company said that while the settlement concludes all ATO audit activities up to and including the year ended March 31, 2006, it does not include the amended assessment in respect of the 1999 financial year.James Hardie said its appeal to contest the ATO’s position on this matter was expected to be heard in the Federal Court of Australia no later than September 2009.As part of the release of its second quarter results on November 17, 2008, the company noted the range of analysts’ forecasts for operating profit from continuing operations, excluding asbestos, for the year ending March 31, 2009, of between $US95 million ($A144.4m) and $US116 million.On the basis that asbestos and Australian Securities and Investments Commission defence costs are excluded from net operating profit, management remains comfortable with the bottom half of this range.The company said significant uncertainty remained over the outlook for United States housing activity because economic conditions and markets are severely affecting consumer and business confidence.

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