You’ve paid your taxes, why do those with deep-pockets dodge it? 90



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Out of Australia’s 1539 biggest companies, 38 per cent did not pay any tax during 2013-14. This is despite recording an eye-watering combined profit of $169.9 billion.

These sickening numbers are prompting everyday Australians to call for tax reform, which forces companies to contribute their fair share.

The Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan has released tax details of these 1539 companies, which includes foreign and Australian owned companies.

According to reports, these companies dodged their fair share by offsetting costs such as operating expenses, research and development against their taxable income.

Others were reported as still recovering from the Global Financial Crisis, with restructures and bad debts underway.

Mining companies were some of the worst offenders, with entities such as Adani and oil giant Chevron joining the commissioner’s list.

International companies such as Steinhoff Holdings (which own brands such as Freedom furniture and Snooze bedding) also joined the list, with a taxable income of $150 million – but not one cent paid in tax.

The figures have sparked an outcry amongst everyday Aussies and politicians alike. There have been calls to boycott companies which have somehow evaded tax.

Labor Senator Sam Dastyari said, “It’s time to bring these practices to an end. It’s doesn’t pass the sniff test that all these companies have legitimates reasons for paying no tax”.

Whilst Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale added, “They might be able to afford the best tax lawyers to help them stay ahead of the parliament but they won’t be able to escape the court of public opinion.”

Indeed, everyday people have made their voices heard online. As Facebook user Allan Henshaw commented, “It is indefensible for individuals to be hounded for tax, while letting the big boys go.”

Whilst Tristian Smith added online, “what a joke Australia’s tax system is. Big business don’t pay, and instead the working class have to foot the bill.” 

Can you believe these shocking figures? Should the Tax Office be doing more to ensure big companies pay their dues? How do the ‘big boys’ get away with paying so little tax?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. This is a classic example of the rich paying nothing while the poor and Pensioners are expected to pay for everyone. The Priorities of this Government are skewed and unfortunately, we will have to bear the pain of that.

  2. I will vote for any party that either goes after these companies or honestly tells me why it us in our best interest not to. Oh, and if anyone has seen my pink unicorn can they let me know.

  3. Who said they are not paying their dues? These companies employ thousands and support the economy by supporting people who can’t run companies their and families

    14 REPLY
    • These companies only employ a very small percent of the work force it is the small business in Australia that employ the larger part if our workforce. These small business are not given the same tax avoidances that these larger one are. You need to get a few fax straight. These big businesses yes employ people but those people who work for them have to pay tax and they are paying more tax than the company that they work for. If the company are earning a profit ( which they do otherwise there shares would go down) they need to pay tax.

    • If paying taxes was not important NO ONE woud have to pay taxes at all, running this country takes more money than just employing people, if the small business owner can put his hand in his pocket and pay tax can big business

    • The people they employ are doing work for them, they are not paying them out of the goodness of their hearts, or to help the unemployment figures. And they should be paying tax just like everyone else, including those people they employ

    • Yet if those big companies get in strife financially the hand is up for the government bail out money, when the hand out finishes they up and go overseas, but it is ok not to pay tax on their profit, let us screw the poor working class over and if a self employed person get’s in financial trouble no hand out there and yet they still hit you for taxes, how does that work?

    • Libbi Elliot I agree. These companies employ enough people to improve their own bottom line, not as a service to the country.

    • If we all paid the tradies and such like who give a 10% “discount” rather than provide us with tax invoice and therefore we don’t pay the GST on services and the trades don, would we need to worry so much about the big companies not paying their tax.

    • Anyone that makes a profit has to pay tax on it whether it’s interest on an investment or the sale of services and goods. By creative accounting companies are reducing their tax to zero, this is done, for instance, by extraordinary expenses or capital investment into the business. We need the government to look more closely at these companies and the tax laws.

    • Why blame big companies when we are all happy to take the 10% “discount” and pay cash to those tradesman and such like who run under the radar for GST liabilities?? How many small cafes and takeaways fail to ring up sales and put cash straight into their tills?? We all have a responsibility to pay our fair share of tax and these small tax avoidances are rife.

    • Yes and those ‘thousands’ of employees get to pay tax at the full rate while companies pay little or no tax for providing employment. Something smells in the kitchen and a new recipe is needed.

    • no answer on the other post so I will ask here.. How many shares do Liberal Politicians have in these companies? and How many of them donate to The Liberal Party ? they are are questions I would like answered

    • Anne Atkins, it’s the big companies that are avoiding tax in a big way, small businesses are paying taxes, if they are cheating the system and they get caught, the ATO will fine them. Not declaring ones correct income impacts on the true value of ones business when it’s time to sell, or ask for a bank loan. If people behave foolishly they will reap the rewards, if you would call them that.

    • Fred Davies for many years no Party , LNP, ALP, Greens or indep have been game to do anything , political suicide

  4. Legislation must be changed to stop these tax ” loopholes ” . It’s just wrong, yes they are big employers, but all we want is a fair system.
    Religious groups should be looked at also, many very wealthy and many obscure organisations working under the ” church or religious ” banner

    2 REPLY
    • I have been saying for years about these religious groups need to pay taxes. Scientology richest religion in the world along with catholics. And a bunch of Hippocrates.

  5. If companies stay within the law that is good for them. and the Gov. shouldn’t complain or anyone else. If the law is wrong it needs fixing. If it isn’t wrong Justice has to be seen to be done. At the moment it isn’t. Unless we know why some of these business don’t seem to be paying no taxes or a small amount of tax it is always going to seem unfair and this should be fixed up by the Govt.

    4 REPLY
    • Very sensible reply Cheryl It is within the law as far as I’m aware and as they must answer to shareholders of course they must minimise their tax. If small business finds this unfair then start agitating politicians

    • How many shares do Liberal Politicians have in these companies? and How many of them donate to The Liberal Party ? they are are questions I would like answered

    • Rosalind Battles What was the matter with Julia or Kevin doing something, had 7 years, OR do they know it could have adverse consequences

  6. There needs to be an overhaul of the tax laws but don’t hold your breathe waiting for the Libs to do this. These companies are their biggest contributors. The ATO is hampered going after these companies as the cost to them, and consequently us tax payers, can be higher than the tax collected. Fix the laws! Eventually there can be little gained by hitting our workers and retirees with endless cuts to income and at the same time increasing costs. Reducing spending power will cut into the economy but unfortunately it will be those small businesses not able to avoid paying tax, who will lose again.

    8 REPLY
    • Sarah Gibbins Quite probably. TA and Hockey were never going to look at it, Howard and Costello didn’t either and Turnbull and Morrison aren’t doing anything either. On the other side Rudd/Swann and Gillard/Swann did nothing either.

    • Bill Pollock we only know these figures because the Labor Party introduced some transparency to the system. Don’t forget the Libs actually voted against this legislation, preferring to keep the tax details for the big end of town secret much easier to go after retirees and workers after all none of us contribute big dollars to their party coffers.

    • I was going to hold my breath thinking the ALP might do something about, then decided better not, because it wouldn’t happen. ALP kicked an own goal having the data published, which is available in every companies annual report anyway, because they sat on their hands for six years.

    • John Green Why didn’t ALP do something , I hear NO party is willing to touch it, Sick of all these things that La bor have saved up .now it is all out to get Libs. If Bill got in tomorrow He wouldn’t touch it either , Why has it gone on for SO many years . Tells you something.

    • Bill Pollock Tells me everyone is happy with it, Labor had plenty of time DID nothing J St Clair on TV looking stupid . Someone who knows says very powerful secretaries in some companies

    • The ALP did have a Mining Tax Dawn to try to recoup some profits as tax, and then they had the Carbon Tax which actually made big polluters pay tax if they didn’t clean up their act. These things went a small part way to addressing some of these issues. The Libs couldn’t tolerate their big donors paying tax when all us retirees can contribute instead.

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