More than 100 of the biggest companies in Australia have paid no tax since 2013, despite earning collective profits of more than $9.85 billion, according to a Guardian Australia analysis.
One hundred and sixty-eight (168) companies that have paid no tax since 2013 were included in figures released by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) this month that showed the revenue, profit, and tax paid by around 2,300 of the biggest companies in the country in the 2019-20 financial year.
The ATO’s figures included income and tax details for Australian public companies and multinationals with an income over $100 million in the country and Australian-owned resident private entities with a total income of $200 million or more.
Some of the insurance companies included in the list of the biggest Australian companies that paid no tax in 2019-20 were Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Company Australia Pty Ltd, Ansvar Insurance Limited, Insurance Australia Group Limited, Mips Insurance Pty Ltd, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company Ltd, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co Limited, and Xl Insurance Company Se.
The reasons why the companies have paid no tax for years vary – with The Guardian’s analysis showing that some investors (rather than the companies) are responsible for paying tax, while some companies have significant losses in previous years that they drew upon to offset their tax payments.
ATO Deputy Commissioner Rebecca Saint also noted legitimate reasons why a company did not pay tax.
“Just because an entity doesn’t pay tax doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s tax avoidance or similar activity occurring. There can be good commercial justification to that,” Saint said, as reported by The Guardian.
“We have high levels of confidence around those entities that don’t pay tax, and what I mean by that is we actually go and have looked into whether those losses are generated from commercial activities, as opposed to tax avoidance arrangements.”