Responding to new data released today by the Australian Tax Office (ATO), Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said:
“The ATO data revealing that 36 per cent of large companies paid no tax at all in the 2014-15 financial year is damning evidence of the need for tougher action on corporate tax avoidance.
“While there has been a negligible drop from the 37 per cent of large companies paying zero tax in the previous year, the data shows that more than one in three large companies continued to pay no tax for the second financial year in a row.
“The 679 companies that paid no tax in the latest release made a whopping $462 billion in revenue – yet failed to contribute anything to public coffers to help pay for essential public services like schools, hospitals and tackling poverty.
“Household names including McDonalds Asia-Pacific, Chevron Australia and Vodafone Hutchison are among the list of large companies that did not pay tax.
“The ATO data also shows that of the large companies that did pay tax, the overall effective tax rate was 25 per cent on profits – 5 per cent below the statutory rate of 30 per cent.
“Oxfam further examined a sample of more than 200 of the biggest corporate taxpayers in Australia, and found that those companies in the health care, energy and financial sectors paid the lowest effective tax rates of between 19 and 24 per cent in 2014-15. Yet these three sectors had a combined income topping $330 billion.
“This data is even more alarming given the Federal Government’s plan to cut corporate tax rates.
“Today’s data also follows Oxfam Australia’s report in June this year, The Hidden Billions, which estimated the Australian economy was losing up to $6 billion in tax revenue annually because of Australian-based multinationals shifting money to tax havens around the globe. At the same time, developing countries are losing out on nearly $3 billion in tax that could be helping some of the poorest in our region get out of poverty.
“The Federal Government must act swiftly and can no longer ignore the need for laws that will force big companies to publicly report on their incomes, taxes paid, profits and employees in every country in which they operate.
“The persistent failure of companies to pay their fair share is simply untenable in a world were inequality continues to grow.”
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