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

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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.

Australia's statutory corporate tax rate is 30 per cent, a rate the government wants to reduce to 25 per cent.

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.

IT companies which have come under scrutiny in recent years lifted their tax payments.

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

It was a similar story for global IT firm Unisys, which generated AU$207 million in income, with a taxable amount of AU$1.5 million; and defence giant BAE Systems, which reported a total income of AU$1.3 billion and a taxable income of AU$35.7 million, yet paid nothing in tax for the year.

News Corporation was able to reduce its Australian taxable income to zero, meaning no tax was paid.

Chevron Australia had $2.1 billion in income but failed to pay tax.

"Tax is only paid on income (ie. profits) not revenue".

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.

Foxtel Cable Television Pty Ltd and Foxtel Management reportedly paid no tax on $2,031,705,308 and $237,023,747 respectively.

In the latest report, Hewlett Packard is not listed, but Dimension Data, with a total income again of AU$1.2 billion, did not report a taxable income, and therefore did not pay tax during the 2015-16 financial year either.

However, these figures have not been broken out by the ATO for the purposes of the transparency report.

"In the last financial year alone, we issued more than $4 billion in amended assessments relating to prior years to public groups and multinationals, and we have already issued a further $1 billion in amended assessments this financial year", Hirschorn 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.

He also said that the impact of Australia's Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL), estimated to increase sales in Australia by AUS 7 billion (USD 5.25 billion) each year, and Australia's new diverted profits tax, are not yet reflected in the data.