Kraft Foods Says Florida Shaking It Down for Bogus Tax Debt

(CN) – Kraft Foods claims in court Florida is unlawfully interpreting its corporate tax code in order to shake the conglomerate down for more than $16.2 million in taxes and penalties.

Kraft Foods, now known as Intercontinental Brands LLC, sued the Florida Department of Revenue in Leon County Circuit Court on Feb. 7.

In a pair of lawsuits, the company claims it is wrongly being penalized for not paying corporate income taxes between December 2008 and October 2012.

It maintains it doesn’t owe any taxes in Florida because it is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Chicago.

While it does do business in a number of states, including New Jersey, New York and Wisconsin, Kraft says it has no offices, employees, property or operations located in Florida.

Despite having no business ties to the Sunshine State, the food manufacturer says it was assessed for taxes by the department based on the licensing of intellectual property to licensees in Florida and the fact the company received royalties from those licensees.

Kraft Foods also contends the state misapportioned its income when assessing the taxes due because the numbers were based on the Florida sales of one of the company’s  licensees from which it received royalties, and not Kraft itself.

The company says the department’s assessment is invalid and violates the Florida and United States Constitutions.

It is asking the court to void all of the taxes, penalties and interest the state says it owes.

Kraft Foods is represented by William Townsend of Dean, Mead, Egerton, Bloodworth & Bozrath, P.A. in Tallahassee, Florida.

A representative of the defendant was not immediately available for comment.

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