Pipeline Companies Face Payout of $18.5 Billion in Refunds Under Trump Tax Plan

From Bloomberg:
Pipeline owners led by Enbridge Inc. and Williams Cos. could be forced to refund as much as $18.5 billion to drillers, utilities and even United Airlines Inc. for upfront payments they charged customers before new U.S. tax rules cut the corporate rate.

Natural gas conduits include the cost of future tax payments in customer fees. Because the Trump administration lowered the tax rate 21 percent from 35 percent earlier this year, pipelines have effectively been overcharging customers, according to East Daley Capital Management Inc. The sides now await a U.S. ruling on whether refunds must be made, and how quickly.

The outcome could be particularly damaging to master limited partnerships aligned with pipeline companies. In March, MLPs -- whose shares are down 21 percent from a year ago --lost the ability to collect any taxes, after regulators issued a ruling following a federal court decision involving United Airlines. Now, they face the prospect of paying back funds charged in the past.
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