Corporates dodging Australian tax 85



View Profile

Australia’s economy is struggling, reducing our tax base and causing the government to impose politically challenging cuts on individuals. Meanwhile, giant companies like BHP, Rio Tinto and News Limited are enjoying income tax loopholes that allow them to move money and assets without paying their fair share of tax here. And the Australian Tax Office and the Government aren’t happy about it. But do you think they are unhappy enough to do something that changes it?

It appears there is many loopholes that need to be closed into and out of Australia that allow companies to trade on our people, and in our country without paying tax here. In many cases the businesses may even be operating legally, within tax legislation, but because of the ageing nature of the laws in a global marketplace, Australians are being left with empty pockets.

The Australian Financial Review is this morning suggesting that BHP and Rio are redirecting their profits from iron ore through companies in Singapore where they pay no tax in Australia, and as little at 2.5 per cent tax in Singapore. The two businesses have apparently set up “marketing hubs” in the low-tax nation and are funnelling up to $2.6 billion per year through the country.

company tax rates

Meanwhile, Netflix has kicked off operations in Australia and are charging our residents for their TV on demand services “GST free”, and repatriating the income from subscriptions to an international business without any Australian operating vehicle. GST is not chargeable because people are not paying over $1000 and the business charging it is international.

The Government’s pursuit of the majors has been mooted for a while, with many believing it too difficult a fight for the Australian Government to take on. But this week, it is going to be front and centre of discussions. In addition to the alleged pursuit of BHP, Rio and others above, a Senate Enquiry will kick off, bringing together executives from News Limited, Google, Apple, Glencore, Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue.

Will they really find ways to discuss this sensitive topic and bring the money Australia should be paid back into our budgets?

There are two sides to every argument when it comes to corporate taxes though. At 30 cents in the dollar (dropping to 28.5 this year), our tax levels are about average on the International stage but our population and position in the world is far from placing us in a position where we can demand our own way if companies are shipping monies offshore and not declaring them as Australian earned. If our Government takes too hard a stance, Australian and International businesses will simply choose to redirect their investment elsewhere, much like we saw with the Mining Tax, which seems to have been the blunt instrument that crippled further growth of our mining industry here.  Can we afford this in our current rising unemployment market?


How heavily do you think our Government should pursue international businesses paying minimal tax in Australia?  Is it time they went harder, or do you think they should tread carefully lest they scare off our employers?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Of course these companies should be pursued and rightful taxes claimed, I would have thought that should have been a priority before that penalized the old , the sick, and the poor. For too long those big companies have had a free ride here. They have concentrated on The Boomers when we are the last on the list they should be chasing. Most pensioners spend everything we get every fortnight and that helps stimulate the economy

    2 REPLY
    • Some people do a good job of robbing the taxpayer dollars by living in their chilldren’s investment properties and also claiming the extra rental allowance from centrelink. So it’s not just multinationals doing the wrong thing by taxpayers. What about oithers living as a couple but claiming single pensio pensionsm isn’t that also robbing the tax payers? Isn’t it also about time parents took responsibility for their own children instead of expecting every taxpayer to contribute to their upkeep? Where has our pride gone?

    • since I am single I would not have have a clue if people are claiming twice or not..perhaps someone else can tell us

  2. No 2 ways about it..this Government is taking us into recession. The economy is flat lining, jobs are being lost everywhere and instead of stimulating they are cutting. Stop the Reinhart’s and Forrester’s of Australia bleeding us dry, stop the big multinationals from rorting us and This Liberal Government needs to stop rorting our money

  3. Tax reforms as well as other law reforms need to take place in this country and have needed to take place for a very long time. Could it be that our politicians and others don’t know how to do this?mmmm

    3 REPLY
    • They should lead by example, start with the pollie perks
      Take the lot away.
      From all the past Pollies gold card, phones, cars, etc.
      Then all pollies take a 25% pay cut.
      Make the big end of town Pay there Taxes.
      Get the big companies to PAY their taxes.
      Do this and the books will balance.
      Without touching our pensions.
      Now I would like to see that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1 REPLY
    • Yes they are all to afraid in case they lose there high income and the high live they are enjoying now and after there use by date.until they dye

  4. So, what is the answer? Scare them off so unemployment goes even higher? Sounds good in theory, but really frightening if it all goes wrong.

  5. They are going to have to do something. Income tax revenue and cuts just won’t be enough! The UK are starting to do something in their budget, we could do the same if pollies don’t have the brains to think of anything else!

  6. Yes they should be pursued. Unfortunately the Laba Pardy couldn’t careless about this problem. Hence the reason why they sat on their hands whilst running the economy down and putting the country in debt when they were in Government. Now the Libs have to dig us out of the hole.

    3 REPLY

  8. If your company is not paying tax in Australia, take whatever it is you are selling here and piss off back to where you came from.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *