Foster's Group has said it intends to contest income tax assessments it has received from the Australian Commissioner of Taxation.

The beer and wine group, which is still working through demerger plans announced in May, said earlier today (25 November) that the commissioner has submitted assessments for primary tax of AUD49.5m (US$48.5m), with interest of AUD17.1m. The company said that it also expects to receive additional assessments for penalties of between AUD12.4m and AUD24.7m.

The assessments relate to a capital loss in Foster's 2004 financial year.

"Foster's is confident of the position it has adopted in claiming the capital loss and intends to defend its position vigorously," the company said.

Despite vowing to contest the amounts, the firm will pay the commissioner AUD33.3m by 21 December. "This amount is fully refundable, with interest, in the event that the matter is resolved in Foster's favour," Foster's noted. "Although additional assessments are expected in respect of penalties, Foster's does not anticipate any further payment being required pending resolution of the matter."

To read the official announcement from Foster's, click here.