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Banks found way shelter millions

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Banks found way to shelter millions

NEW YORK, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Some of the nation's biggest banks in recent years found a way to shelter hundreds of millions of dollars from state taxes, it was reported Thursday.

The banks got around paying taxes on the money by creating investment funds that did not sell shares publicly but paid tax-exempt dividends to the banks, the Wall Street Journal said.

Created in 1999 and 2000, the funds, all but one set up with advice from KPMG LLP, an accounting firm whose tax shelter practices are under scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service, were shut down over the past two years.

A review of Securities and Exchange Commission records showed that at least 10 major banks shifted more than $17 billion into such funds.

Bank of America alone transferred at least $8 billion into its fund, sheltering more than $750 million in income from 1999 through last May. The banks contended the funds were legitimate vehicles for raising investment capital.

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