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Britain’s authorities have declared war on one of America’s biggest corporations in an attempt to seize $1billion they allege should have been paid in tax.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that General Electric, which operates in 180 countries and employs 295,000 staff, is being sued for the equivalent of £770million by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.

The taxman alleges that the industrial heavyweight – with interests across the energy, aviation, healthcare and financial sectors – wrongly claimed tax relief in the UK on various strands of its business over a 12-year period. GE has indicated it will fight HMRC.
Tax experts have described the legal battle, which will ramp up tensions between the UK and US, as a ‘massive dispute’ that will send a strong message to other large international firms operating in Britain.

The row emerges at the end of a week in which Chancellor Philip Hammond unveiled Budget plans to target US tech behemoths such as Google and Facebook with a new ‘digital services tax’.

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