Media Release - ATO Tax Data: Enough is Enough



Today’s Australian Tax Office data provides further irrefutable evidence of tax evasion and minimisation by wealthy individuals and large corporates, both public and private.

One in three private companies pay no tax and one in three public corporate entities operating in Australia pay no tax. In addition, we have 56 millionaires who paid no income tax in 2013, not even the Medicare levy.

While there are legitimate reasons why some companies paid no tax in a given year, this data release shines a light on the ethically bankrupt behaviour of some of Australia’s largest companies, both public and private.

These figures demonstrate the absurdity of the Turnbull Government’s assertion that a company tax cut will drive jobs and investment. Public companies in 2013 paid an average tax rate of 23.7 per cent and the private companies, as shown by reporting today, paid an average tax rate below 25 percent.

There is little question that much of this avoidance and evasion is driven through tax havens to evade their responsibilities to our nation.

When companies fail to pay their fair share of tax, revenue must be found elsewhere from businesses and individual taxpayers. The billions of dollars avoided are forever lost to education and infrastructure, which are investments vital to growth and ultimately support the bottom line for business.

If we assume conservatively 10 per cent of corporate revenue (over the years 2011/12 -2014/15) is lost through these practices at a minimum, the accumulative cost to the Budget is $26 billion over four years.

Australia needs a debate about the ethics of this behaviour because there is a stark contrast between the respect boards and executives expect and what their actual behaviour merits.

The actions of these businesses tear at the very fabric of our community and erode trust in business and government.

The failure of the Business Council of Australia to speak out about these practices compromises its standing and credibility.

In government, Labor acted on rampant tax evasion and minimisation and was opposed at every step by the Coalition. Now in government, the Coalition has obstructed and watered down legislation to expose the extent of tax evasion and minimisation.

Enough is enough – if a company operates in Australia you have a moral (and legal) obligation to pay tax here and support the economic system which nurtures our business sector.