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TORRANCE : Mobil Oil Disputes $1.7-Million Tax

March 03, 1994|MARY GUTHRIE

The City Council has ordered the Mobil Oil refinery in Torrance to pay $1.7 million in fuel taxes, penalties and interest.

But Mobil spokesman Barry Engelberg said the company should be exempt from the tax, and that in reviewing records, the company discovered it is due a refund of $860,231 for overpayment of past taxes.

The dispute began with an audit of utility taxes paid on natural gas piped into the refinery between Jan. 1, 1990, and July 30, 1993. The city hired Municipal Resource Consultants in 1992 to review Mobil's records.

In February, the city sent Mobil a notice that it owed $3.9 million, a figure that was later revised to $1.2 million. With interest and a 25% penalty, the total is now $1.7 million.

Engelberg called the audit "seriously flawed" and said that his company's legal department and management would meet to decide what to do next.

The council voted unanimously to assess the tax.

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