The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ruling in which U.S. District Judge Saundra Armstrong of Oakland had allowed the refund.
The dispute had to do with refund claims originally filed by Texaco Inc., which was acquired by Chevron in 2001.
Texaco claimed it overpaid taxes for the years 1988 and 1990 through 1992 because it should have gotten a deduction related to a $1.25 billion settlement it reached with the U.S. Energy Department in 1988.
The settlement payment was for Texaco's alleged overcharging of customers for crude oil and refined oil products between 1973 and 1981.
The oil company said it should have gotten a deduction discounting the sales revenue that it later had to hand over to the Energy Department in the settlement.
But a three-judge panel of the appeals court said the language of the U.S. revenue code was "clear and unambiguous" in saying that Texaco wasn't entitled to deductions for payments related to past years' inventory sales.
A spokesperson for Chevron was not immediately available for comment.