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The rich and the rest – the “tax transparency” data

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Nick G.

Figures released today by the Australian Taxation Office reveal that 579 of the country’s largest corporations paid no tax in 2014.  They comprise 38% of the 1539 largest local and foreign companies operating in Australia.

Reflecting the control of the economy by imperialism, only 554 local companies were included in the list of companies with more than $100 million of sales in 2014, while 985, or nearly twice as many, were foreign-owned.

Foreign multinationals also had better access to scams allowing them to transfer profits to low-tax havens overseas, so that 45% of foreign-owned banking and finance companies paid no tax in Australia, compared to only 19% of locally-owned banking and finance houses.

The same was true for insurance and superannuation, with figures of 39% for foreign-owned corporations and 18% for local companies.
Of the 960 companies that did pay tax, their combined tax totalled only $40 billion with many paying well below the official company tax rate.

The release of this damning, but hardly unexpected, information by the ATO follows years of campaigning by unions, welfare groups and community associations to make the rich pay taxes.

For years, the Business Council of Australia (representing the 100 largest companies in Australia) and other pro-business lobby groups have successfully shielded major corporations, their tax obligations and their actual tax payments, from public scrutiny.

In a last ditch attempt to stymie today’s release, the government sought to have private companies exempted with the lame rationale that the release of their financial details would be a gift to would-be kidnappers and ransom-artists.

Yet the spreadsheet lists only the company name, its 2014 income, its taxable income, and the tax paid – hardly anything to be of use to potential kidnappers!

What it does do is provide a minimum of information to add grist to the mill of demands for corporations to pay taxes where their profits are made.

Unless this is done, more of the burden of providing revenue for the government will be placed on the shoulders of the people.

Ultimately, this struggle between the rich and the rest will have to be resolved by bringing private ownership of industry, finance and commerce under the control of the state in a socialist and independent Australia.


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