June 7, 2013 / 12:14 AM / 5 years ago

HP board member Ray Lane settles long-running tax issue

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard (HP.N) board member and Kleiner Perkins partner emeritus Ray Lane said he has agreed to settle an outstanding tax bill with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service dating back to 2004 of as much as $100 million.

A Hewlett-Packard logo is seen at the company's Executive Briefing Center in Palo Alto, California January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

The IRS found that Lane, who gave up his chairmanship of HP in April after coming under investor pressure for his role in the acquisition of Autonomy Plc, participated in a “sham” tax shelter and generated losses of $251 million to offset income, Bloomberg reported, citing appeal papers filed May 6 with the U.S. Tax Court in Washington, D.C.

Lane told Reuters the issue stemmed from a fund in 2000 that his tax advisers “put him into,” which in turn invested in startups during the first dotcom boom.

“It became obvious in 2004 that the IRS looked at it as a tax shelter. And nothing has happened until 2013,” Lane said in an interview, adding that the IRS simply said it was auditing Lane’s 2000 returns and asked him to sign extensions on a statute of limitations every 18 months.

“They were reviewing, and I was reviewing, the upfront payment that was made which they considered to be fees, which we had claimed had been warrants in these companies,” he explained. “One would be taxed as ordinary income, and one would be taxed as capital gains.”

Lane said he recently signed a settlement letter with the IRS regarding the taxes owed but has yet to pay his outstanding bill.

“I have never disagreed with it,” he said. “I have waited for the IRS. They just simply kept extending it.”

Lane has had a rough year. Following his resignation as chairman of HP, Lane also stepped down from the board of troubled automaker Fisker Automotive, which he had backed while at Kleiner.

Lane joined storied venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins in 2000 after eight years at Oracle Corp ORCL.O, where he helped take the software company to $10 billion in revenue from $1 billion. Although his expertise lay in software, he increasingly took on clean technology, which became a focal point at Kleiner.

Reporting By Poornima Gupta; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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