Sunday, 10 December 2017 07:25

Tech firms take backseat to ExxonMobil in tax dodging Featured

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Technology companies normally occupy the top ranks in many areas of business, including dodging taxes, but this time they appear to have been beaten by the oil company ExxonMobil.

The petroleum giant has been revealed as the worst corporate tax dodger in Australia, having made $24.7 billion in revenue over three years and not paid a cent in tax.

The Tax Justice Network Australia provided the information about ExxonMobil, based on data issued for 2015-16 by the Australian Taxation Office on Friday.

Among the technology companies that avoided contributing to the public purse were IBM, Atlassian, Acer, BAe Systems, FoxConn, Citrix and Unisys.

Two Samsung entities earned $5.3 billion in revenue and only paid $3.6 million in tax.

Other oil majors that paid no tax in 2015-16 were Shell Energy ($4.2 billion revenue), Chevron ($2.1 billion revenue), and Viva Energy ($16.8 billion revenue).

The data released covered Australian public and foreign-owned entities with total income of $100 million or more, Australian-owned resident private entities with total income of $200 million or more and entities that have to pay the petroleum resource rent tax.

More than 700 of the total of 200+ companies listed paid no tax for the year 2015-16.

Tax Justice Network Australia report author Jason Ward said: “What this research shows is that ExxonMobil has exploited Australia’s natural resources, made a ton of money and siphoned it all off overseas. By using notorious tax havens, high-interest internal loans and related party transactions they’ve sucked the taxpayer dry.

“ExxonMobil has $54 billion sitting in offshore bank accounts. Our research shows that much of that money has been funnelled from Australia through Exxon’s Dutch outfit, and ultimately through their Bahamas subsidiary. But the very idea of Exxon Australia being owned in the Bahamas raises more questions than answers.”

Ward said Exxon had misled the Senate Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance in 2015 by failing to declare the company's Dutch-Bahamas structure.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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