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Tax office reveals list of 98 private companies that paid no tax
March, 22nd 2016

The Australian Taxation Office has revealed the tax details of more than 300 of Australia’s richest privately held companies in a new report published on Tuesday.

Of the 321 companies on the list of Australian-owned private companies with an income of $200m or more, 98 paid no tax and 123 companies paid about a third of their taxable income in tax.

Tax transparency: search tax and income details for Australia's largest private companies
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The report also revealed that since 2013 more than half of these 321 companies have been subject to some form of ATO engagement about their tax position and resulted in 25% of them having an additional assessment of more than $530m in liabilities.

Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting was the country’s largest privately owned taxpayer, paying $466m on a taxable income of $1.5bn in 2015.

In a statement the tax office warned that not paying tax does not equate to tax avoidance and that wealthy Australians made a substantial contribution to the nation’s economy.

“The 321 companies included today reported income tax payable of around $2bn in 2013-14, with an additional $1.6bn reported by their associated entities,” it said.

“As with the December report relating to large public and foreign-owned corporates, there are some taxpayers with nil tax payable for the reporting period. No tax paid does not necessarily mean tax avoidance.”

ATO report shows nearly 600 big companies paid no tax in 2013-14
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The Coalition had previously sought to prevent the release of information on the tax details of private companies saying that it could jeopardise the safety of wealthy individuals and possibly lead to kidnappings.

However, a compromise deal between the Coalition and the Greens was reached on the final Senate sitting day of 2015.

The deal allowed the tax office to release information on private companies with revenue of at least $200m, but an estimated 500 to 600 companies continue to be shielded from disclosure because they fall below the threshold.

The ATO had previously revealed that one in five privately held companies with a revenue greater than $100m did not pay any tax in 2014.

Shadow assistant treasurer, Andrew Leigh, said that if Labor’s laws on tax transparency had not been “gutted”, hundreds more large companies would have had their tax data released for public scrutiny.

“Last December, in one of their many dodgy deals, Malcolm Turnbull and Greens leader Richard Di Natale agreed to hike the threshold for private firms from $100 million to $200 million. That change carved out two-thirds of private firms from the transparency rules,” Leigh said.

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