Some of the nation’s biggest resource companies paid little to no company tax despite earning billions of dollars in revenue according to new statistics.
Michael West Media’s (MWM’s) Top 40 Tax Dodgers claims Exxonmobil, Peabody, Chevron, QGC Upstream Holdings, Puma Energy, Yancoal, Australia Pacific LNG, CITIC Resources and Whitehaven Coal did not pay any company taxes in the past five years.
This was despite the proponents reporting billions of dollars in earnings to the Australian Tax Office. Exxonmobil made a staggering $42.4 billion in the period, Peabody was $16.5B, Chevron totalled $15.7B, QGC had $13.3B, Puma clawed $11.9B, Yancoal collected $11B, Australia Pacific LNG pocketed $10.6B, CITIC reported $8.9B and Whitehaven netted $8.4B.
‘Will the taxman ever see a dollar’
One of the only top 40 companies to pay any tax was Santos which made $18B and paid $3.1 million, representing 11.5 per cent of its total earnings for the period. This still fell short of the full 30 per cent company tax rate.
MWM accused proponents of paying less income tax than every Australian worker who earns a minimum wage, criticising the companies as “leaners” on the economy while praising pay as you go workers as the real “lifters”.
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“The window is getting longer and these same names keep bobbing up,” former University of New South Wales accounting academic Jeffrey Knapp told the publication. “[Earnings] just keep getting bigger and bigger but will the taxman ever see a dollar from these fossil fuel companies … particularly the foreign multinationals?”
University of Technology Sydney associate professor Roman Lanis believes many of these mining giants are structured to report losses instead of profits, often through using negative equity that auditors can easily write off as a “going concern”.