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Australia's biggest companies avoiding tax

08 December 2017

Jordan's comments came the day after an ATO report tabled in parliament on Thursday revealed that 37 percent of multinational corporations with operations in Australia paid no tax in Australia in the 2015-16 financial year.

The government has failed to address the issue they themselves have identified, where an increasing number of corporations are restructuring to be "stapled securities" to avoid having to pay tax in Australia.

"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.

Exxon said it had no taxable income as it has invested almost $18 billion during the past few years on major projects including Gorgon and the Kipper Tuna Turrum field.

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IBM A/NZ, ASG Group, Citrix Systems Asia Pacific, Canon, Schneider Electric and Atlassian Australia were among the top earning technology companies in Australia that paid zero tax while still reporting taxable income in the financial year ending 2016.

Apple Australia paid $118 million in tax on $393 million in taxable income, effectively paying the corporate tax rate of 30 per cent.

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

Google Australia paid $16 million in tax for the year, off the back of taxable income of $121.9 million and total income of $501.8 million.

The Commonwealth was the biggest taxpayer, paying $3.3 billion on total income of $42.7 billion.

"The significant reduction in tax payable was overwhelmingly driven by the energy and resources segment, reflecting a decline in the average Australian dollar prices for iron ore and coking coal of 16 percent and 10% percent, respectively", the report said.

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.

"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.

Australia's biggest companies avoiding tax