Money Finance News Almost 600 major corporations paid no tax in 2013-14
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Almost 600 major corporations paid no tax in 2013-14

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Almost 600 of the largest companies operating in Australia did not pay income tax in the 2013-14 financial year, figures released by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) show.

More than 1500 companies with annual incomes of more than $100 million are on the list.

Of those companies, 960 did pay tax, while 579 companies did not pay tax.

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The ATO said no tax paid did not necessarily mean companies had been engaged in tax avoidance.

Some of those companies incurred tax losses, while others used prior financial year losses or offsets to minimise their tax payment.

Companies with high yearly income paid little or no tax

The data highlights a number of companies that paid little to no tax, but does not outline how they minimised their tax bill.

However, the data does show significant differences between the total income of certain companies, and the income that was subject to tax in Australia.

Technology giant Apple had total income of about $6.1 billion, but only $247 million of that was taxable income.

AAP
Almost 600 of the largest companies operating in Australia did not pay income in 2013-14. Photo: AAP

The company’s tax payment was the largest of the multinational tech giants at just over $74 million, but that only equates to around 1 per cent of its total income in the 2013-14 financial year.

Apple’s competitor Microsoft had taxable income close to $104 million, less than a fifth of its total revenue of $568 million. Its tax bill was about $31 million – just 5 per cent of its income.

Google’s total income was about $358 million, but only a quarter of that was taxable. Google’s tax bill was $9 million.

All three gave evidence to a Senate Inquiry about their tax affairs earlier this year.

Cleaning company Spotless Group, which has been accused of underpaying its staff working at department store Myer, made about $2.2 billion, but paid no tax.

Embattled car manufacturer Volkswagen made almost $2 billion in 2013-14. But, its taxable income was $35 million and it only paid $10 million.


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Yokohama Tyres Australia paid about $220,000 tax on a taxable income of $747,000, despite earning $121 million.

Other large companies that did not pay tax in the 2013-14 financial year include Qantas, Virgin Australia, General Motors (owner of Holden), Vodafone, petrol company ExxonMobil, online betting shop William Hill, Warner Bros Entertainment, property developer Lend Lease and media company Ten Network Holdings.

Qantas reported a $2.84 billion loss in that financial year, while the Ten Network lost almost $80 million.

Immigration detention centre manager Transfield also paid no tax in 2013-14.

Mining and banking tax bills among the highest

At the other end of the spectrum, mining giant BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto faced two of the highest tax bills in the country.

BHP made more than $40 billion in 2013-14, but its taxable income was closer to $14 billion. Its tax bill was almost $4 billion.

Rio Tinto’s taxable income was almost $11 billion after its total income reached $34 billion. The miner paid $3 billion to the ATO.

Coal mining
Mining giants faced high tax bills.

The big four banks are the next highest tax payers.

Commonwealth Bank’s income hit more than $43 billion in 2013-14, and close to $10 billion of that was taxable. It handed over close to $3 billion.

Westpac’s total income was $39 billion, of which $9 billion was subject to tax, and it paid tax of close to $2.5 billion.

ANZ’s taxable income was $8 billion, after its total earnings hit $30 billion in 2013-14. The ATO took close to $2 billion.

NAB earned close to $43 billion in 2013-14, and more than $11 billion was taxable. Their tax bill hit more than $2 billion.

Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan said releasing the data helped build community trust in the taxation system.

“Community trust and confidence in the way these large companies operate matters,” Mr Jordan said.

“And tax should matter to these companies. It is not something to be taken lightly.

“Collectively, these 1,500 large corporates paid almost $40 billion in company tax in the 2014 fiscal year.”

Federal Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer reaffirmed there were many reasons why a company may not pay tax in any given year.

Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh seized upon the data, saying it was the sort of information the Liberal party had worked hard for the public never to see.

– ABC

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