The top tech players that paid zero Aussie tax in 2015-16

Cornelia Mascio
Dicembre 8, 2017

Despite generating a taxable income of AU$23.4 million for the 2015-16 financial year, the local arm of IBM paid no tax, the report shows, with IBM Australia and New Zealand reporting total income of AU$3.6 billion.

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

Despite that, BHP paid $1.3 billion on $26.7 billion in income, Rio Tinto paid $1 billion on $27.8 billion in income, Fortescue Metals Group paid $393 million on $8.9 million in income and Hancock Prospecting paid $225 million on $1.9 billion.

The ATO report lists over 2,400 Australian public and foreign-owned corporate tax entities with a total income of AU$100 million or more, as well as Australian-owned resident private companies with a total income of AU$200 million or more.

According to the latest report, Toshiba (Australia) paid $177,847 in tax from $5.4 million in taxable income, off the back of $434 million in total income, putting it well under the standard 30 per cent Australian corporate tax rate.

Chevron reported $2.1 billion in income for 2016 and paid no tax, while Shell Energy Holdings Australia - a unit of Royal Dutch Shell - reported $4.2 billion in income and $97 million in taxable income but paid no tax.

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

Its total income, however, was $7.6 billion.

Australian startup darling Atlassian, which undertook its initial public offering on the Nasdaq in December 2015, reported income of AU$599.7 million, and despite AU$87.4 million of the income being taxable, the company has no figure registered in the "tax paid" column of the ATO's report. "Even companies with very high total income sometimes make losses. there are many legitimate reasons why this might be the case".

Samsung Electronics, by comparison, reported total income of $2.5 billion and a taxable income of $12 million, paying $3.6 million in tax.

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.

"This is being achieved through the establishment of the Tax Avoidance Taskforce, and the introduction of new laws such as the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL), the Diverted Profits Tax (DPT) and Country-by-Country reporting (CbC)".

"In addition, we expect to begin to see the impact of the MAAL in the 2016-17 data as companies restructure to comply with the requirements of the new law", he said.

"Increasingly, the data will also reflect our approach to resolving past matters in requiring future compliance to be "locked in", he said.

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