WASHINGTON — A Federal appeals court has ruled that a U.S. bank taxed by a foreign government on earnings from loans made in that country is entitled to claim credit for the taxes when filing its U.S. return.

The ruling overturned a lower court decision denying a claim by Bankers Trust Corp. that it should get credit for taxes paid in Brazil. Bankers Trust, since acquired by Deutsche Bank, sued four years ago for tax year 1980. The banking company was opposed by the Internal Revenue Service, which claimed that no refund is due.

The appeals court ruled that the lower court had incorrectly deferred to the IRS under the “Chevron doctrine,” which calls for a high level of deference to interpretations of law by the agencies charged with enforcing them. The lower court, it ruled, should have adhered to earlier court rulings that set a precedent for such refunds.

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