The New Daily and Michael West count down the 10 biggest corporate tax dodgers in Australia. Return on Monday when we reveal the nation’s fifth-biggest tax avoider.
Sydney day trader Philip Tauberman is the man behind the mysterious Pomi and its humongous income of $14 billion over four years. But as the company lodges no financial accounts, its tax affairs are impenetrable.
Mr Tauberman is listed on LinkedIn as a director in another company, Cannon Trading, which “delivers algorithmic trading, API development/support, deep learning, sentiment analysis and autonomous advice for the Australian equity market”.
Assuming Pomi is an automated trader like Cannon, the total income number disclosed with the ATO may be gross trading turnover. Still, although it would seem an enormous risk to deploy $14 billion to produce a taxable income of just $1.7 million, Mr Tauberman does pay his 30 per cent tax on that income.
Most multinational companies on our Top 40, indeed 269 large companies on the Tax Office transparency list, have paid zero tax for four years straight.
Qantas is perhaps the best known, racking up almost $62 billion in total income and paying not one red cent in tax.
Qantas and others had built up billions of dollars in tax losses to shield them against future tax obligations.
Others, more notorious, such as the oil majors, gas companies and Glencore, have used “debt-loading” to siphon hundreds of millions of dollars a year in interest payments to their associates offshore.
There are many ways to create losses and rack up costs to reduce taxable income but, for the sake of rankings, we needed to stick closely to the three data points that companies are now obliged to disclose to the ATO each year.
As explained in the methodology, the rankings are based on size of total income and margin, that is, the amount of total income wiped out to produce taxable income. The lower the taxable income, the lower the tax payable and the vast bulk of multinational tax avoidance occurs before the taxable income line, rather than by paying a low rate of tax.
So it is that we have ranked companies by the size of their total income, but only included them in the rankings if they have eliminated 99.95 per cent of their taxable income, as has Pomi.
This is part five of a 10-part series on the nation’s biggest tax dodgers. Click here to see part four.
For the full details of Michael West’s investigation into Australia’s 40 biggest tax dodgers you can visit his website, here.