Saturday 22nd of February 2020

trough or tax....

trough or tax

The latest ATO annual transparency report reveals one-third of large companies are paying zero tax. Alan Austin reports.

THINGS MUST BE GRIM at AGL Energy. This year’s tax transparency reportreleased by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) reveals AGL paid $107 million less in tax in 2018 than back in 2014.

You would deduce from this that business must be tough, profits must be down disastrously and executives and shareholders having a thin time of it. You would be wrong.

AGL paid its executives $13.4 million in 2018. This was up 28.4% on the $10.4 million in 2014.  Dividends paid to shareholders were a staggering 253% higher, up from $269 million to $682 million.

Companies which paid no company tax

At least AGL did declare a profit and pay some company tax — even if it was just 1.6 cents in every dollar of its colossal revenue.

Many big corporations declared huge profits in 2017-18 but paid no tax whatsoever. These include Shell Energy ($200.5 million profit), Bluescope Steel($60.6 million profit), Murdoch’s News Australia ($58.5 million), Food Investments Pty Ltd ($65.2 million profit), Lendlease Corp ($69.2 million), Pratt Holdings ($59.2 million) and Woodside Petroleum ($1.3 billion).

Yes, billion with a "B".

A total of 2,214 companies are listed with gross earnings shown. Of these, only 1,649 reveal their taxable income. The others either did not generate any taxable income or have not revealed it. These include some of the world’s biggest exporters of Australia’s resources — ChevronExxonMobil, Peabody and Santos.

Only 1,504 companies paid company tax, which means 710 or 32% didn’t.


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