A third of Australia’s biggest companies paid no tax in 2020-21

by Greg Jericho

In 2020-21 the biggest companies in Australia were able to reduce their taxable income to just 12% of their total income

As the Australian government looks for more revenue to meet the growing demands of government services and benefits, the latest company tax figures from the ATO reveal a third of Australia’s largest companies paid no tax in 2021.

The data reveals how massive income earnings companies are able to use the tax system to reduce their taxable.

Ampol ltd for example registered a total income in 2020-21 of $20.06bn and yet it had a taxable income of ZERO. BP Regional Australian Holdings was similarly able to reduce its total income from $17.4bn to a ZERO taxable income. Exxon Mobile however was not able to quite get down to $o taxable income. But it was able to reduce its total income from $11.1bn to a taxable income of just $645,312 and it paid no tax at all.

The accountants of Chevron however were not so good. They were able to reduce their total income from $9.16bn to $113.06m and paid a grand total of $30 tax. Yes: Thirty dollars.

Overall the top 2,520 companies in Australia had a total income of $2,311.5bn which was reduced to a taxable income of $287.2bn – in effect just 12% of the total income. Those companies paid a total of $68.6bn in tax, which was 24% of the taxable income but just 2.98% of total income.

Of the 2,520 companies in Australia with a total income above $100m some 816 paid no tax.

These figures highlight that the major problem for raising revenue from companies is not the actual tax rate, but the ability of companies to use the tax system to reduce their taxable income.

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