Which of Australia’s biggest companies are not paying tax

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Some of Australia's largest corporations paidno tax in 2013/14 despite turning over billions of dollars.

Michael Pascoe: Scott Morrison wedges himself.

Multinational oil and gas giants paying no petroleum resource rent tax.

Which of Australia's biggest companies are not paying tax.

Top ten companies paying the least tax.

Out of 1539 of Australia's largest corporateentities, 38 per cent did not pay any tax in 2013-14.

Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan has released the tax details of corporate entities with$100 million or more annual turnover – 985 of which are foreign-owned, and 554 of whichare Australian foreign entities.

The 1539 companies had a combined turnoverof $1.

6 trillion in turnover, $169.

9 billion in profit, and paid a combined $39.

9 billionin tax.

There were 579 local and foreign-based companiesthat paid no tax in 2013-14 which had a combined turnover of $405.

9 billion and a taxable incomeof $4 billion.

The nil result is either because they didnot pay any tax, had offsets against profits that reduced their tax to zero, or, they madea loss, which the Tax Office reports as nil.

Certain industries in the 2013–14 incomeyear were still recovering from the global financial crisis with significant carriedforward losses, bad debts or restructuring activities underway.

Transfield with $2.

8 billion turnover, had taxable income of $16 million, and zero tax.

but will be challenging the decision, hadturnover of $3 billion but paid not tax.

Adani's Abbot Point Terminal in Queensland- with a turnover of $268 million – also paid no tax.

CSL had $2.

1 billion turnover, $160 million in taxable income and paid zero tax, howeverthe company said the turnover figure included overseas profits already taxed, and tax owingwas offset by credits for its R&D work in Australia.

News Australia, which had a turnover of $3.

9 billion between its Australian arms, had $97.

2million in net income last year and paid $4.

2 million in tax.

​Steinhoff Holdings (owned through the Netherlands and with key brands Freedom (furniture), Snooze(bedding) and Buy Leather Republic) had a total income of $431 million, taxable incomeof $150 and paid no tax.

Fairfax Media had $1.

7 billion in turnover,$69.

8 million in net income and paid $16.

1 million in tax.

Some paid tax, but much not much relativeto income.

For instance, Macquarie had turnover of $8.

1 billion but paid just $127.

9 millionin tax.

Macquarie runs a March financial year.

Inthe year to March 2015 it declared that net profit rose 27 per cent from $1.

28 billionto $1.

62 billion, after tax that rose from $827 million to $899 million.

RACV and RACQ both paid no tax despite net incomes of $119 million and $54.

6 million.

Nappy maker Unicharm Australia paid just $3 in tax last year (enough to buy an 80-packof its baby wipes) out of a $10 profit.

It had a turnover of $130 million over the sameperiod.

Tax minimisation not taken lightly.

Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, who has chairedthe Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance, told Fairfax Media: "It's time to bring thesepractices to an end.

It doesn't pass the sniff test that all these companies have legitimatereasons for paying no tax.

" He said tougher anti-avoidance measures passedby the Coalition go part of the way to stopping corporate tax avoidance, but it was "nowherenear enough".

Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natalesaid: "they might be able to afford the best tax lawyers to help them stay ahead of theparliament but they won't be able to escape the court of public opinion".

"It will now be up to these companies to justify their tax arrangements.

"Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan said: "tax should matter to these companies".

"It is not somethingto be taken lightly.

" While "no tax paid does not necessarily meantax avoidance", he said "any companies with unusual financial or taxation numbers areclosely investigated by the ATO".


We do have some significant disputes withsome of them".

"Some of these foreign owned companies areoverly aggressive in the way they structure their operations.

" Tax Justice Network spokesman Mark Zirnsaksaid many companies had made no effort to explain their tax affairs to the general publicand many had not filed financial reports with ASIC.

"Any company that now complains it is facing tough questions about its tax affairs onlyhas itself to blame," he said.

Energy and resources were the sectors withthe highest level of non-payment.

Fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil Australia, ChevronAustralia, Peabody Australia, and Whitehaven are among those that paid no tax for 2013-14,Greenpeace Australia head of campaigns Dominique Rowe said.

"What we're seeing is a series of tactics,such as companies writing off their losses, in order to avoid paying tax," she said.

BCA warns against misinterpretation.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott cautioned against misleadinginterpretations of data.

"Companies do not pay company income tax on revenue (total income)- they pay it on profits after paying all expenses including wages, capital replacement,supplier costs, fleet costs and other operating expenses," she said.

Ms Westacott said many small and medium sized businesses did not make a profit in a givenyear, "and even large businesses go through cycles where profits from large investmentstake time to be realised".

She said the companies listed accounted for$40 billion of the $67 billion in company tax paid in 2013-14.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry boss Kate Carnell said: "We must face thefact that weaker economic conditions are hurting the bottom line for many businesses and it'snot surprising that loss making companies are not liable for profit taxes.

" ATO challenging aggressive arrangements.

The ATO would continue to challenge the more aggressive arrangements.

"We are resoluteabout ensuring companies are not unreasonably playing on the edge," Mr Jordan said.

"Ifthey do, they can expect to be challenged.

" As Fairfax Media reported, over half of thecompanies on the list have been subject to ATO review or audit over the past three years.

He said the federal government was working with the Board of Taxation to go further anddevelop a voluntary code so that companies can tell their own tax story.

"Large corporates now have to consider the impact of their tax information as a factorin managing their reputation with the markets, their shareholders, their consumers and inthe Australian community," he said.

The ATO's list is the result of tax disclosurelaws passed under the former Labor government that require the Commissioner to publish thetax details of public companies with $100 million or more annual turnover.

The tax information of about 300 private companies will be reported in March next year.

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