NTT DoCoMo Inc. has filed a lawsuit against tax authorities, claiming it was inappropriately taxed on roughly 30 billion yen it paid for acquiring the lines for its personal handy-phone system, a company official said Thursday.

Japan’s biggest cell phone operator filed the lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court, seeking a retraction of the authorities’ decision to impose the additional taxes.

“We filed a complaint with the tax authorities for the additional taxes, but since our assertion was not accepted, we decided to go ahead with a lawsuit,” the company official said.

The Tokyo National Tax Tribunal decided in March that the tax authorities’ taxation method was appropriate.

The lines in question connect the NTT switching centers with the antennas at base stations and are necessary for NTT DoCoMo’s PHS system.

NTT DoCoMo declared the costs for each line it set up, regarding each one as an independent asset.

But the tax authorities said that all the lines used for the PHS system should be regarded as one asset, and that the cost should have been written off over a 20-year period.

According to NTT DoCoMo, the cost of setting up one line is around 73,000 yen.

Going by a tax rule that allows for assets worth less than 100,000 yen to be declared as costs, the company declared as costs about 30 billion yen it paid in fiscal 1998 and 1999 to acquire the lines.

But the tax authorities did not agree with the company’s move, saying that one line alone cannot be treated as independent equipment because all the lines are necessary to operate the system.

Based on this view, the authorities imposed additional taxes on NTT DoCoMo, maintaining that the lines as a whole constitute one asset, and since it was impossible for depreciation costs to be written off on the lines in one year, the costs should be written off over 20 years.

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