Hundreds of Australian companies avoid paying tax

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It’s no surprise that Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce is a big fan of the Government’s proposed corporate tax cuts, even though he runs an Australian company that hasn’t paid any tax in years.

In fact, not one of Australia’s largest carriers has paid any tax since at least 2013. One in five of Australia’s biggest companies haven’t paid tax for at least three years.

ABC’s Chief Economic Correspondent Emma Alberici reported that Australia’s already generous corporate tax regime means that companies can receive tax concessions, depreciation provisions and are able to offset past losses with past and future profits indefinitely.

Power prices have soared, yet most of the energy sector’s companies have avoided paying any tax for years despite making vast profits. Same goes for banks and other financial institutions.

Then there are those that shift profits overseas to take advantage of lower taxes and avoid paying their share in Australia.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp has recorded massive turnover and yet, has also paid zero tax in four years. News Corp’s rival Fairfax has paid $53.1 million in the same time. To add insult to injury, in the last budget, the Government actually gave News Corp $30 million to improve sports coverage.

View the table of Total income and company tax paid in 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16.

So why is the Government considering further tax cuts for hundreds of corporations that pay no tax?

The short answer is: it shouldn’t be.

It would be better served focusing on Treasurer Scott Morrison’s Tax Avoidance Taskforce, to which it has committed almost $680 million over the next four years to fight corporate tax avoidance.

If the Government applied the same vigour to chasing the hundreds of millions – possibly billions – being kept in corporate pockets as it does chasing down potential welfare frauds, the economy would be far better off.

Read more at ABC

Should the money for Mr Morrison’s task force be coming from Aussie taxpayer pockets? Should the onus be on the corporations who’ve avoided paying tax? Are corporate tax cuts the answer to boosting our economy?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 27
  1. 0

    That’s the LNP for you – soft on Big Business, their own pollies and Federal public servants, rough, tough and hostile to the rest of us!

    • 0

      disillusioned the LNP are not soft on Federal Public servants, look at the paltry pay rises and over the top cuts to conditions offered to Federal Public Servants since 2013.

    • 0

      Both Liberals and Labor have quietly allowed this – it is treason to have such tax rules which allow large scale tax avoidance. a Minimum Tax based on Gross Income, disallowing shonky deductions, of say 20-25% is a MUST.

      We have to vote out all Liberals, Labor & Greens currently holding seats – by putting them last in preferences to shake up the system, otherwise it is too comfortable for them currently – with their special pensions and jobs from such companies after retiring from politics.

    • 0

      I agree George, there are many new parties to vote for, ie: Sustainable Australia which Dick Smith supports, and many Independents. Just need to check each ones policies and ask them questions to decide who you think is best to vote for. More people need to take their votes more seriously and not listen to the media hype (and lies) before each election.

  2. 0

    That’s why 330000 pensioners lost all or part of their pension from the start of last year. Next election will see the LNP out or we will get another pension cut.

  3. 0

    This is helpful reminder for all those people who think corporate Australia is doing the right thing. I’ve been told by some here that the reason they don’t pay tax is because they don’t make a profit. What a joke! You’re in la la land.

    • 0

      That is correct Tib
      They do not make a “Taxable Profit”
      They may or may not make an Accounting Profit

      The difference between the 2 is tax deferred to be paid in later years

      Only you lefties live in la la land

    • 0

      The tax is deferred to la la land. I’ve worked for a multinational most of my life and I know what they do to avoid tax. And believe me they are as slippery as a bucket full of eels. I admire their intelligence but not their morals.
      The government needs to close some of the gaps these guys slip through. And this government won’t do that.
      And I think you know that Raphael from the right. :))))

    • 0

      Time for a MINIMUM TAX as noted above in another post! Nothing else will fix this corrupt system.

  4. 0

    It’s not hard to agree with the comments so far, but I have to ask the question, if those companies rorting the system now, don’t pay any tax at all how is giving further tax cuts going to affect them, they are still not going to be paying tax, so the government could give a trillion dollars in tax cuts and it wouldn’t cost them a single cent, zero tax collected before tax cuts, zero tax collected after tax cuts, or do the tax cuts only benefit those companies that are currently paying tax? If that is the case then all of the companies mentioned in the article are not going to benefit from any tax cuts, since they already pay no tax!!

    • 0

      The public want functional infrastructure. Taxes must pay for that. It makes no sense to call for tax cuts while wanting better transport, health and education systems. But taxation must be PROGRESSIVE.

    • 0

      As I tried to explain, how does a tax cut benefit any company that doesn’t actually pay tax? Australia has one of the highest company tax rates in the developed world, surely the question should be how do we get these companies to pay some tax. How many people on this site have ever in their lives had a job done for cash in hand, that is tax avoidance, it might only be a few hundred dollars, but if a few hundred thousand people do it then the tax avoidance is in the millions, does this sort of tax avoidance create any jobs I doubt it. The left wing in the UK are having exactly the same argument, and using the divisive terms of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, the usual politics of envy. Unfortuanately we will almost certainly have a labor government after the next election, and once Billy the Bully is in charge we will really have something to whinge about, with their supporters in the greens will destroy the country. Such is life

  5. 0

    Tighten up the tax laws and make the parasitic bastards pay. This is a disgrace. Individuals have to pay the GST (John “Rodent” Howard’s Get-Stuffed-Tax) which is a regressive tax. But under Mr Turdball’s disgraceful Lieberal-Hillbilly COALition, the rich are feather-bedded while the poor are slugged, and are increasingly worse off. Kick these LNP bums out and put the ALP back in government. Then we can expect some social justice.

  6. 0

    Silly article

    If you want to stop companies shifting profits or arranging their structures in order to pay less tax in lower tax jurisdictions, AND encourage growth /investment/job creation – we need to lower our taxes

    lowering taxes increases government tax revenue in the long run – idiot lefties never understand this

    • 0

      The public want functional infrastructure. Taxes must pay for that. It makes no sense to call for tax cuts while wanting better transport, health and education systems. But taxation must be PROGRESSIVE.

      Idiot Rightards never understand this.

    • 0

      Knows-nothing is a perfect example of a lefty loonie

      You cannot increase the tax take by increasing taxes – you will only f-up the economy resulting in decrease in foreign investment and jobs

      If you want to fuck up the country – vote your lefty retards in the next election.

    • 0

      Change the tax laws so that multi nationals and big business pay their fair share of tax.

    • 0

      Good work Raphael. You have just explained why talk of a GST increase and universal land taxes is a stupid idea.

      All tax does is take money out of the economy. Helpful in booming economies to slow inflation but pretty useless in the income stagnating deflation our business leaders and government have us wallowing in now.

    • 0

      Yes, but on the other hand somebody has to pay for the necessary infrastructure and government services. And somebody should logically be those who profit most from the availability of that infrastructure and services – i.e. big corporations. Further, that somebody should be those who currently pay least in proportion to their benefits – BIG CORPORATIONS.

      We should NOT be talking about tax cuts. We should be talking about closing the loopholes that let them escape paying their fair share. Tax cuts won’t suddenly make them honest. It will only reduce the effort required to profit from dishonesty.

  7. 0

    It’a all a game for accountants to minimize tax for their clients…You’re a mug if u run a company/buisness and don’t pay an accountant to find the deductions…it’s not illegal and morally it has no merit as these people enjoy all the benefits a country offers but don’t contribute to its finances (schools,hospitals,police,defence,disaster relief and so on)…shaming and naming is the way to highlight such tax thieves.

    • 0

      if you lefties used your brains , you’d realise just how much tax companies directly and indirectly contribute to the coffers to pay for your welfare

      Directly –
      Corporate Tax obviously
      Payroll Tax
      Stamp duties

      Indirectly –
      Income tax contributions of their employees
      Dividend income (distribution of profit) to shareholders

    • 0

      Now now Rapheal, you shouldn’t be accusing these lefties of having brains, the current labor party are relying on the opposite to be the case.

    • 0

      Righties don’t have brains. Brain cells are killed off by greed, and righties are consumed with greed – and self-righteousness. They assume they are better than others and therefore shouldn’t have to pay their way in life.

  8. 0

    The corporate world, hand in hand with extreme neo-con pollies is on track with their agenda to eliminate both the social and welfare state. All/any method will be brought to bear and little by little the pace will inexorably move toward achieving their aim.
    Think back to the 80’s/90’s when the ‘User pays’ idea was surreptitiously implemented and various gov’t establishments and utilities began being sold off under the guise of “competing market forces will create a more competitive playing field and consumers will be the winners” – remember ? Yeh right. Funny thing that, but surely I’m not the only bunny here. Consumable costs since that time, almost without exception have continued in a skywards trajectory and now seem set to spiral off into space. The entire social structure of most westernized/democratic countries in the specialized fields of – banking/finance, politics, universities/education, hospital/healthcare (& others) has been cosmetically and systematically altered. These changes have been introduced incrementally and most folk unawares till such time as the collective cost becomes apparent and the balance tips in favour of big business and capitalists. Maybe we’ve already reached the tipping point as the wealth seems to be exponentially confining to an ever smaller segment of mankind.
    Of course big business will use every trick in the book – and then some – from paying profit tax. Business is only interested in selling to profit. If business were to contribute to consolidated revenue then the government would immediately squander it on social services, ie, welfare and the likes. Big business doesn’t stand to realize much profit from government handouts, instead they would sooner see each of us pay our own way for all/any goods and services. Too bad those who can’t afford it, you’ve only got yourself to blame according to corporate think. Most politicians are hand in glove on this issue and see this as the real deal: the way of the future.

    In all probability a universal wage may well be the outcome and regardless of whether; unemployed, student, carer, pensioner, disabled – anyone/everyone realizing a govt benefit will automatically receive the same amount. The crunch may also be (if the corporate/politico wonks have their way) that a good many of the add-on’s will either be phased out or discontinued. Thereafter, most goods/services will attract a charge – forget about a free ride on the too – many – to – mention current list of ‘entitlements’.
    The democratic/capitalist world system is presently in flux, most everyone wants most everything, too many feel entitled and those elect/select people in their glass castles are feeling less inclined to stump up any more of their filthy moolah to ease the pain for the free loaders.

    • 0

      Yes MD and it will be a universal card where the spending can be assured to profit only the chosen corporates and government sponsored service providers.

      This is exactly the sort of stripping freedoms our ancestors rose up to fight. But then they weren’t mesmerised by iPad screens and tv sets.
      Nor were they isolated in homes with a world media controlled by just 6 huge corporations with profits to be made from a docile and dumb population.



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