MILWAUKEE – Four Wisconsin banks including Marshall & Ilsley, one of the state’s largest, have reached agreements with the state to settle tax audits following charges they illegally evaded state corporate taxes through out-of-state subsidiaries, according to media reports here and in Madison. Last week the Milwaukee Sentinel reported the Wisconsin Department of Revenue has audited 60 banks as part of a crackdown on a practice it said violates state law by shipping investments and loans to Nevada to avoid millions in income taxes. Officials of the revenue department were quoted as expressing “hope that we’ll get even more settlements” from the banks once “they see the agreements are reasonable,” the Sentinel reported. Bankers, who charge the state reneged on earlier approvals to transfer assets to the subsidiaries, claim the department “is on a hunt to find new revenue” with the department seeking $100-$200 million in back taxes. More than 200 of the state’s 300 banks use out of state subsidiaries, according to the article. According to an Associated Press report, one legislator, Rep. Spencer Black, D. Madison, said banks have declined to make public details of the state probe or the settlements because “it would be a black eye.”

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