REVEALED: The companies that pay the most – and least – tax in Australia
Mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto paid a quarter of all corporate tax in Australia for the 2021-2022 financial year, but more than 800 major companies paid no tax at all, new data shows.
The Australian Taxation Office’s ninth corporate tax transparency report covered 2713 business entities.
They included 1,496 foreign-owned companies with income of at least $100 million, 590 Australian public entities with income of at least $100 million, and 627 Australian-based private companies with income of $200 million or more.
The report shows that the amount of taxes collected increased due to rising mining profits and higher oil prices, but 831 companies paid no taxes.
Various reasons were given, including companies suffering an accounting loss or claiming tax compensation that reduced their tax bill to zero.
The ATO noted it was similar to ASX data, which showed around 20 to 30 per cent of ASX 500 companies reported a net loss to their shareholders.
Qantas, Virgin and Crown Resorts all reported paying no corporate tax, with all citing the continued impact of lockdowns on major losses.
The Australian Taxation Office has revealed that Rio Tinto paid $9.1 billion in taxes in the last financial year
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia paid $3 billion in taxes, but the ATO said more than 800 major companies paid no taxes at all
“The fact that an entity does not pay income tax does not necessarily mean that they are not meeting their obligations,” ATO Deputy Commissioner Rebecca Saint said.
‘Tax is paid on profits, not on gross income. Even entities with large revenue streams cannot make a profit for various reasons.
‘There are legitimate reasons why a company should not pay income tax. For example, they may not have made a profit in the past year or may be in the start-up phase of their business.
“The Australian community can rest assured that we are keeping a close eye on those who don’t pay income tax to ensure they don’t try to game the system.”
In total, companies paid a record $83.8 billion in income taxes, a 22 percent increase from the previous year and nearly 50 percent more than two years ago.
Ms Saint said the tax increase came from the mining sector, reflecting strong commodity prices.
“The 2022 income year was the first year that the mining sector paid more tax than all other sectors combined – something we have not seen in the history of the CTT report,” she said.
“In fact, the mining sector paid more tax in 2021-2022 than the total tax of all sectors in each of the first three years of CTT reporting.”
Since the Tax Avoidance Task Force was established in 2016, more than $27.7 billion in additional tax revenue has been collected from multinational corporations and corporations.
In 2022-2023, the ATO said a record $6.4 billion in tax revenue had been raised from public and multinational companies.
The ATO said more than 800 major companies including Qantas (pictured), Virgin and Crown Resorts paid no corporate tax at all
Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group paid $3.5 billion in taxes