The Tax Office’s sixth annual tax transparency report showed the 2350 biggest corporate taxpayers paid a combined $56.1 billion in income tax in the period, up from $52.3 billion a year earlier.
The revenue represents more than 60 per cent of all corporate income tax paid and includes $11.2 billion from large public companies, multinational corporations, Rich Listers, and private groups collected by a powerful tax avoidance taskforce.
About a third of the biggest companies, 760, paid no corporate income tax, the report revealed. Tax is levied on profits, not gross income.
The ATO takes steps to verify that losses in the large market are not created through contrived schemes, but actual losses that can be traced back to commercial operations,” deputy commissioner Rebecca Saint said.
“Companies that report sustained losses year-on-year face scrutiny from the tax avoidance taskforce.”
Telstra slipped outside the top 10 in 2018-19, paying $863 million to the ATO, down from $1.5 billion a year earlier.
AMP fell from 10th on the list to 15, paying $727 million, down from $905 million.
Gina Rineharts Hancock Prospecting paid $540 million, based on $3.1 billion in total income. Last month Hancock revealed a $4 billion profit in the year to June 30, 2020.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp reported $2.1 billion revenue, but paid no corporate tax.
Chevron and Santos paid no income tax for another financial year, but Santos was among 11 companies paying petroleum resources rent tax. Together they paid $1.06 billion, a slight decline from a year earlier due to the drop in the oil price.
Chevron had revenue nearing $12 billion, and $900 million in taxable income.
Other PRRT payees included BHP, Cooper Energy, Esso Australia, Mitsui, Triangle Energy and Vermilion Oil and Gas.
Woodside Petroleum paid no income tax again in the period, but the company’s spokeswoman stressed its subsidiary Barrup entities had combined taxable income of $3.9 billion and paid $583 million to the ATO.
The top 100 contributors of corporate income tax, excise, and PRRT contributed $34.1 billion in tax, or 41 per cent of all corporate income tax for 2017-2018.
The top 1000 companies reported $26.3 billion, or 32 per cent, of all corporate income tax for 201718 paid by public and multinational businesses.
Updated tax gap figures for the 2017-18 financial year showed lost revenue from large corporate groups totalled 7.5 per cent of potential tax paid to the ATO. After audits and other scrutiny, the estimated net gap fell to 3.7 per cent.

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