Australia's transparency report shows one third of large businesses paid no tax

Australia's transparency report shows one third of large businesses paid no tax

Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp paid no tax in Australia in the 2016 financial year, the third year in a row, despite reporting billions of dollars in income from operations in the country, a report from the tax office shows.

Part of the rationale behind the move to make taxation records public is to help crack down on large companies involved in tax minimisation and avoidance practices, an ongoing focus for the Federal Government.

For the year in question, Apple generated AU$7.57 billion on Australian soil, resulting in AU$118 million - 30 percent - of its AU$393 million taxable income being delivered to the ATO.

The report provides data on 2,043 entities, comprised of 1,693 Australian public and foreign-owned companies with an income of at least AUS 100 million (USD 75.12 million) and 350 Australian-owned resident private companies with an income of AUS $200 million (USD 150.24 million) or more.

Seven West Media paid $53.5 million on a taxable income of $199 million.

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Last year, in the 2014-15 report, IBM was flagged as earning AU$3.6 million, but again did not pay any tax.

"No tax paid does not necessarily mean tax avoidance", the ATO said.

While the ATO's report highlighted a number of big tech companies and other businesses that paid no tax during 2015-16 despite claiming a taxable income, Deputy Commissioner, Jeremy Hirschhorn, suggested Australians should be confident that companies are being required to pay the right amount of tax on their Australian profits.

"As these multi-billion investments were completed in 2017 and have started production, the amount of tax paid by ExxonMobil Australia is anticipated to increase significantly", said Travis Parnaby, a spokesman for the oil major.

The Australian government legislated a new Diverted Profits Tax (DPT) in March, which is meant to prevent the practice of multinational organisations shifting profits made in Australia offshore to avoid paying tax.

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