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Lucent Technologies could be getting a $816m tax refund from the US government.

The payment relates to the operating loss posted by the company in 2001. Under US tax rules losses can be offset as much five years into the past. The Internal Revenue Service is still deciding on the claim which would also have to be approved by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. The IRS audit of Lucent's figures for 2001 is still not finished.

The cheque is not likely to arrive until financial year 2005, but it is still welcome news. The payment includes the $139m which the IRS has already approved.

The payment crowns Lucent's turnaround after the big losses of recent years and payment of $25m fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission for not co-operating with investigators. ®

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