New data shows 30 per cent of private Australian companies not paying tax

Media Releases article written on the 22 Mar 2016

Responding to today’s release of new data from the Australian Tax Office (ATO), Oxfam Australia said this was yet more evidence that the Australian Government must act on corporate tax avoidance practices.

Oxfam Australia’s Finance for Development Manager Joy Kyriacou said the new data showed that more than 30 per cent of large privately listed Australian companies, with an income greater than $200 million, had paid no tax at all in 2013-14.

These are companies that have at least 50 per cent Australian ownership.

“In total, the data reveals there are 98 Australian companies that paid no tax in Australia in 2013-14, including household names like McDonald’s in Asia and the Pacific, Hoyts – famous for its cinemas, Peters Food Group – makers of Peters ice cream, and Snack Foods Limited. Australians would expect much more from these companies,” Ms Kyriacou said.

This news comes on top of revelations in December last year that nearly 40 per cent of all large publicly listed companies paid no tax in Australia in 2013-14.

“The evidence is clear. This further damning data shows that the Federal Government must act on corporate tax avoidance to stop revenue being drained from national budgets. Oxfam is also alarmed by reports that the Government is considering cutting taxes for multinational companies, which are already at an advantage because they’re not paying their tax. As a priority, multinational companies must first pay their fair share of tax,” Ms Kyriacou said.

“As an organisation that fights for the elimination of poverty, Oxfam knows first-hand that these tax avoidance practices are bad for Australia and bad for the countries in our region – poorer nations globally lose at least US $100 billion a year due to tax-dodging.”

Almost 60 per cent of all ASX listed companies were found to hold subsidiaries in tax havens, according to a 2014 Tax Justice Network report.

“The cost is being borne by ordinary people – particularly women and children – who rely on public services that simply are not funded when there is not enough in federal budgets,” Ms Kyriacou said.

“Eighteen of Australia’s closest neighbours are developing countries, some of which rate among the poorest in the world, including Timor-Leste, Cambodia and Myanmar.

“It’s time for the Australian Government to crack down on large companies dodging taxes. These companies should have to justify their investments in tax havens, and be required to publicly report the taxes they pay – both in Australia and overseas.”

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