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GE Rebuffs Tax Refund Report as 'Hoax'

General Electric called an earlier media report Wednesday that it would repay a $3.2 billion tax refund to the Treasury Department a "hoax."

General Electric building in Ohio
Getty Images
General Electric building in Ohio

Members of an activist group calling themselves the "Yes Men" claimed responsibility for the hoax, according to a report from Reuters.

Earlier Wednesday morning, the Associated Press reported that the U.S. conglomerate — using "a series of foreign tax havens" — would repay the "enormous" refund it received for the 2010 tax year.

Shares of GE , which is a minority shareholder in NBC Universal, the parent company of CNBC.com, slipped on the AP report. The company has faced intense scrutiny in recent weeks following a New York Times report that it would pay no taxes for the 2010 tax year.

"It's a hoax and GE did not receive a refund," said Deirdre Latour, a GE spokeswoman.

Chief Executive Jeff Immelt in a March speech in Washington acknowledged that the company tries to keep its tax bill as low as it can but said it does so legally.

"Our tax rate will be higher in 2011," Immelt told the Washington Economic Club. "We do it in a compliant way. There are no exceptions."

The "Yes Men" sent the release to draw attention to GE's approach to taxes, according to Andrew Boyd who described himself in a phone interview with Reuters as a member of the group.

"This is unpatriotic, it's undemocratic, it's unfair," Boyd said. "It might be legal but it's immoral."

-Reuters contributed to this report.

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