Senate Finance chair goes after Amgen again on US taxes, asking for payment specifics
Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden is asking Amgen again for more information on its financials as he continues to dig into the way pharma companies use subsidiaries in low- or zero-tax countries to lower their bills.
The Democrat senator from Oregon said today that he sent Amgen a final request for “voluntary compliance” to provide specific information on Amgen’s financials. The letter, addressed to Amgen CEO Robert Bradway, asked him to explain how Amgen paid a lower tax rate than the standard corporate tax rate in the US of 21%.
“Amgen paid an effective tax rate of 12.1 percent in 2018, 14.2 percent in 2019, 10.7 percent in 2020 and 12.1 percent in 2021,” Wyden wrote.
The senator’s letter also noted that the senator is looking at sales of Enbrel, an Amgen arthritis drug that booked more than $4 billion in US sales last year. The letter continues, claiming that income from Enbrel and other drugs appears to be reported in countries outside the US for tax purposes.
More specifically, Wyden said that Amgen generated 70% of its overall sales in the US, yet only reported 28% of pre-tax income in the US.
It was also noted that the IRS is claiming that Amgen moved $24 billion in income to entities in Puerto Rico to save several billion dollars in US federal taxes. The WSJ reported earlier this year that the federal agency is looking to have Amgen pay $10.7 billion in back taxes and penalties.
Amgen caught Wyden’s eye after he sent a letter to the pharma back in August and asked for information on its financials in his continuing investigation that has touched other pharma companies too — including the likes of Merck, AbbVie and Bristol Myers Squibb.
“While Amgen responded to the August letter and has engaged with the committee, it refused to provide specific information related to pre-tax earnings, profit margins, and tax paid in the United States,” Wyden’s office said in a statement Thursday.
Wyden is asking Amgen for a litany of specific tax data, including breakdowns of pre-tax earnings and agreements with Puerto Rico entities, by December 21.
An Amgen spokesperson tells Endpoints News that “Amgen has cooperated voluntarily with the Committee’s requests and remains committed to working with the Committee subject to appropriate treatment of its confidential tax information. Because Amgen is currently in litigation with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there are limitations on the information the company can provide. Moreover, much—if not all—of the information requested is available to the Committee through appropriate process, as enacted by Congress.”