US hedge fund executives pay $7 billion to settle tax dispute

WASHINGTON (AFP): Top executives at the Renaissance Technologies hedge fund will personally pay some $7 billion to settle a tax dispute with the IRS, one of the largest settlements ever, US media said Thursday.

Hedge fund founder James Simons will make an additional “settlement payment” of $670 million, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a company letter to investors.

The payment is related to a dispute over decisions by the firm’s Medallion fund between 2005 and 2015 and the way it was reported to the Internal Revenue Service, the US tax authorities: the IRS accused Renaissance Technologies of declaring short-term trading gains as less heavily taxed long-term profits.

Renaissance Technologies, known for investment strategies based on complex computer models capable of digesting large amounts of information, said in the letter that the company “engaged for several years in the IRS Appeals process, in which we vigorously advocated the correctness of Medallion’s tax reporting.”

However, Renaissance’s board “concluded that the interests of our investors from the relevant period would be best served by agreeing to this resolution with the IRS, rather than risking a worse outcome.”

The payments will be made by a group that includes seven people who were members of the board between 2005 and 2015, as well as their spouses.

People who have invested in the fund during the period in question will also have to pay additional sums, and the group has recommended they consult a tax expert.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Medallion only manages money from company employees and a few relatives, not from outside investors.

The company declined to comment when contacted by AFP, and the IRS did not immediately respond to request for information.