Google settles $481m tax brawl

Original article by David Swan
The Australian – Page: 3 : 19-Dec-19

The Australian Taxation Office’s deputy commissioner Mark Konza has welcomed Google’s decision to settle a long-running tax dispute. The technology company has agreed to pay $481m to resolve the dispute, which centred on tax audits covering the period from 2008 to 2018. A Google spokeswoman has emphasised that the settlement does not constitute an admission of liability. Google’s Australian earnings topped $1bn in 2018, but it paid just $25.6m in tax. Konza says the ATO will pursue at least one other technology company.

CORPORATES
GOOGLE INCORPORATED, GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, ATLASSIAN CORPORATION PLC, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED

ATO labels 102 companies as systemic non-payers of tax

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 12-Dec-19

Data from the Australian Taxation Offices shows that the combined tax take from the nation’s 2,200 largest corporate taxpayers was $52.3bn in 2017-18. The data shows that 710 companies did not pay any tax during the financial year, while deputy commissioner Rebecca Saint says 102 companies across all sectors of the economy are "systemic non-payers". She notes that tax receipts from oil and gas companies will increase in coming years, after many booked losses during the construction phase of their projects.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

Leaders say fiscal stimulus is the answer

Original article by James Thomson, Tony Boyd
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 27 : 10-Dec-19

Tax cuts and increased spending on infrastructure are among the suggestions from business leaders to help stimulate the Australian economy. Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques has urged the federal government to revive its push for corporate tax relief, while Woodside Petroleum CEO Peter Coleman has called for the introduction of an investment allowance to boost business confidence. Meanwhile, Telstra CEO Andy Penn has stressed the importance of innovation to Australia’s future economic growth.

CORPORATES
RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX WPL, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, COCA-COLA AMATIL LIMITED – ASX CCL, BENDIGO AND ADELAIDE BANK LIMITED – ASX BEN, ENERGYAUSTRALIA PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, SEEK LIMITED – ASX SEK, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Tax on income, profit world’s second highest

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 6-Dec-19

Australian companies are paying the third-highest share of tax to governments of OECD countries, according to a new tax report from the OECD. It also shows that personal income tax accounts for 40.3 per cent of total government revenue. The report highlights Australia’s heavy reliance on taxes on property, personal income and business profits, and will put pressure on the federal government to undertake major tax reform in order to stimulate the economy.

CORPORATES
ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT

The $10bn tax company

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 44-45 : 12-Nov-19

BHP’s tax bill in Australia was $US4.72bn ($6.79bn) in 2018-19, compared with $US1.79bn ($2.33bn) two years earlier. BHP contends that when state government royalties on its iron ore and coking coal exports are taken into account, its total economic contribution in Australia was about $US7bn ($10bn) in 2018-19. BHP’s relations with the Australian Taxation Office have improved in recent years, and second commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn recently praised the resources giant’s annual economic contribution report.

CORPORATES
BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL AUSTRALIA

Netflix made millions, paid just 0.06pc tax

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 28-Oct-19

Subscription video-on-demand giant Netflix has revealed that its Australian arm paid a total of $341,793 in tax during calendar 2018, compared with $175,516 in 2017. However, its revenue from local subscribers is estimated to have been between $600m and $1bn in 2018. Netflix’s customers in Australia are billed by Amsterdam-based Netflix International BV, which paid Netflix Australia a $12.1m service fee in 2018; this comprises all the company’s locally recognised revenue

CORPORATES
NETFLIX INCORPORATED

Tax cuts key to driving revival: US

Original article by Geoff Chambers
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 10-Oct-19

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross will meet with Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Canberra on 10 October. Ross says the federal government should look at corporate tax reform in order to increase the nation’s global competitiveness and attract more direct foreign investment. Ross has also cautioned against focusing too much on Australia’s trade relationship with China at the expense of its investment relationship with the US. He has also warned that Australia’s aluminium exports to the US are under scrutiny following a recent trebling of export volumes after the Trump administration agreed to a tariff exemption.

CORPORATES
UNITED STATES. DEPT OF COMMERCE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE, UNITED STATES. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

Business cash flow tax would lift investment

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 3-Sep-19

Economist Ross Garnaut has called on the federal government to adopt a business cash flow tax that would incorporate a full deduction for corporate expenditure. He says a full tax write-off for business expenditure provides a significant incentive for investment, and is in line with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s recent call for companies to boost productivity by increasing capital investment in preference to share buybacks and special dividends. Garnaut and former federal Labor minister Craig Emerson have undertaken economic modelling on a possible switch from the traditional profit-based company tax to a tax based on cash flow.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP

Proposed tax reforms a betrayal of small business

Original article by Robert Gottliebsen
The Australian – Page: 25 : 28-Aug-19

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has stressed the need for incentives for businesses to invest by reducing taxes and red tape. However, the federal government’s actions are in fact contrary to its stated intentions. Amongst other things, the Coalition proposes to make directors personally liable for their company’s GST payments and empower the Australian Taxation Office to freeze GST refunds. Likewise, the government wants to introduce criminal penalties for making cash payments of $10,000 or more to any company that has an Australian Business Number. While these measures have the worthy aim of cracking down on phoenix companies and the cash economy, the government’s approach to their implementation has been a complete disaster and could ensure its loss at the next election.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Lower taxes can lift growth and wages

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 2 : 17-Jul-19

The University of Melbourne’s John Freebairn argues that reducing the tax rate for larger companies would stimulate economic growth and help to increase wages. He adds that a tax cut for large companies with non-resident shareholders in particular would boost GDP growth. The federal government has ruled out further attempts to introduce tax cuts for businesses with annual turnover of more than $50m following the bill’s rejection by the Senate.

CORPORATES
UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, ECONOMICS SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA