Uber Warns It's Under Investigation by the IRS Over Past Tax Returns

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Uber—the unicorn whose disastrous initial public offering last month launched a thousand think pieces—has revealed that it is currently under investigation by tax authorities over past returns, a revelation that certainly doesn’t seem like it’ll do the rideshare company any favors.


According to a Tuesday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Uber is presently under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service for its 2013 and 2014 taxes, in addition to other tax-related inquiries “by various state and foreign tax authorities.” The company added that its taxes for 2010 through 2019 remain subject to adjustments, including in its major U.S., Mexico, United Kingdom, Australia, and India markets.

Uber said in the filing that it is “highly uncertain” when the investigations will come to a close or be resolved, adding that it’s possible the balance of gross unrecognized tax benefits could “significantly change” in the next year. Uber said it expects the gross amount of unrecognized tax benefits within the next year to be reduced by “at least $141 million.”

A spokesperson for Uber did not immediately return a request for comment about the filing.

The particular period in question appears to have been as much a mess behind the scenes as it was for Uber publicly. Many may recall that Uber during this time was being run by controversial (to put it mildly) Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, who would later step down from his role in 2017 amid ongoing, uh, public relations issues.

In 2014 alone, as chronicled by Sarah Lacy at Pando, Uber faced allegations of sexism and misogyny (including one particularly tasteless ad), a total public disregard for its workforce of independent contractorswhich Kalanick said would eventually be replaced—and a brilliant idea by a former executive to enlist a team to orchestrate smear campaigns against the company’s critics, including journalists.

Being investigated by the IRS seems pretty not ideal for Uber right now, all things considered. But hey, at least its not burning through tons and tons of mon—oh, wait.




I’m curious on when they learned they were being investigated, as if it was before the IPO that could be a mess for Uber.