Which tech giants paid no tax in Australia last year?

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Which tech giants paid no tax in Australia last year?

ATO publishes tax data for 1500 big businesses.

The Australian Tax Office today for the first time published the tax details of over 1500 of the country's biggest corporate taxpayers, revealing many paid little or no tax in the last year.

Laws passed by the former Labor government allowed the ATO from this year to start publishing data from tax filings of companies earning more than $100 million annually.

The law impacts up to 2000 companies operating in Australia - the total income, taxable income, and income tax payable for the 2013-14 year of 1539 corporates was published today, with 300 private companies to follow next year.

The data contains figures for 554 Australian public companes and 985 companies with more than 50 percent foreign ownership, and reveals around 26 percent of these companies paid no tax.

Technology giants are included in that list.

The ATO data reveals the likes of Acer, Alcatel-Lucent, Amaysim, ASG Group, Citrix, Cubic Transportation Systems, Dimension Data, HP, Ingram Micro, Macquarie Telecom, NEC, the Nokia Group, NTT, Verizon and Vodafone paid zero tax in Australia in the 2013-14 year.

Some of this data can be explained by the losses incurred by the companies - Ingram Micro and HP both posted losses for the year.

But a zero tax bill can also mean a company had offsets against profits that reduced their tax obligations to zero.

The ATO defines a company's taxable income as “the amount left after you have deducted all the expenses you are allowed to claim from your assessable income”.

According to the ATO, around half of those on the total list of businesses who paid no tax were either currently or had been subject to an ATO review at some point in the last three years.

Among those who paid no tax and had no taxable income, Dimension Data's turned over $1.3 billion, Alcatel-Lucent reported revenue of $555 million, and NEC took in $367 million.

Vodafone Australia brought in $3.6 billion for the year, the Nokia group reported combined total earnings of around $446 million, and Acer Computer came in at $309 million for the period. 

A number of technology businesses did report a taxable income but still did not pay any tax.

ASG Group had a taxable income of $11 million on profits of $160 million, Citrix posted a taxable income of $5 million off $247 million in revenue, Verizon reported a taxable income of $1.1 million off $180 million in profits, and Macquarie Telecom brought in $197 million with a taxable income of $3.3 million.

Amaysim also paid no tax on its taxable income of $93,714 from $130 million in revenue, nor did NTT, with a taxable income of $733,412 off $141 million in total earnings.

Little tax

Technology giants Apple, Google and Microsoft have long been criticised over complex tax structures that reduce their local tax obligations by sending Australian revenue to lower-taxing regions offshore.

The ATO today revealed that despite total income of $6.1 billion in 2013-14, Apple's taxable income of $247 million meant it paid just $74 million in tax.

Similarly, Google reported a total Australian income of $358 million and a taxable income of $91 million, and paid only $9 million in tax.

IBM's tax bill came in at a tiny $5.8 million from its taxable income of $60 million, and total earnings of $4 billion.

Lenovo managed to reduce its taxable income to just $132,344 off earnings of $372 million, meaning it paid only $39,703 in tax.

Microsoft's total Australian income for period was $567 million with a taxable income of $104 million. It paid $31 million in tax.

Less than 30 percent

A number of other technology giants were able to reduce their tax bill to under the Australian corporate rate of 30 percent.

Computershare paid just $23 million in tax off its taxable income of $115 million and revenues of $573 million.

EMC took in $296 million with a taxable income of $30 million and paid just $5.4 million in tax.

Fujitsu's $11 million tax bill followed earnings of $963 million and a taxable income of $55.5 million.

Melbourne IT brought into total income of $217 million for the period and posted a taxable income of $26 million, but its tax bill was a small $4.7 million.

Oakton paid $207,127 in tax off its taxable income of $28 million. It brought in a total of $168 million in earnings for the year.

Prysmian handed over $1.2 million to the taxman on a taxable income of $12.7 million and earnings of $342 million.

SAP took in $680 million and posted a taxable income of $23 million and paid $5.8 million in tax.

The company said it pays the 30 percent tax rate and its 2013-14 tax bill "takes into account R&D incentives and foreign tax paid and represents the identical liability that any Australian organisation would be accountable for under like circumstances".

Siemens managed a tax bill of just $4.5 million on a taxable income of $29 million and total income of $1.8 billion.

Technology One's tax bill of $9.1 million fell way under the 30 percent rate for its taxable income of $57 million and total earnings of $227 million.

Unisys paid only $3.7 million in tax off a taxable income of $17 million and earnings of $236 million.

And UXC's taxable income was $32 million, but it paid only $3.5 million in tax. It took in $562 million for the year.

iTnews makes no suggestion of any impropriety relating to the above companies.

In the good books

Many of the technology businesses listed in today's data dump managed to meet or come close to their 30 percent tax rate obligations based on their taxable incomes.

That list includes: Accenture, AT&T, Avnet, Brother, BT, Cisco, CSC, Data#3, Dell, Dicker Data, Epson, Fuji Xerox, Hitachi, Huawei, iiNet, Infosys, LG, M2, NextGen Networks, Phillips Electronics, Sharp, SMS Management and Technology, Symantec, Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra, Telstra, TPG, and Westcon.

Explanations

The ATO said it was already seeing corporations with questionable tax bills adding explanations of their tax positions to their websites.

It said historically it raises an extra $2 billion or so each year after undertaking assessments of compliance where it sees risks.

"Most large corporates, particularly domestic Australian companies, meet their tax obligations, notwithstanding that we do have some significant disputes with some of them," ATO commissioner Chris Jordan said.

"As for the role of foreign owned entities operating in Australia, investment from these companies should not be premised on no or very little tax being paid on significant profits generated in Australia.

"Some of these foreign owned companies are overly aggressive in the way they structure their operations. We will continue to challenge the more aggressive arrangements to show that we are resolute about ensuring companies are not unreasonably playing on the edge.

"If they do, they can expect to be challenged."

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