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These companies have paid $0 tax for the past 7 years: ‘Unbelievable’

·Personal Finance Editor
·3-min read
A person filling out a tax deductions form and an aerial view of the Sydney CBD.
New research found a number of major companies have not paid tax in the last seven years. (Source: Getty)

Five of Australia’s biggest names in the energy and gas industry have paid no income tax for at least the past seven years.

New analysis of data published by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) shows that some of the industry’s most prominent companies have paid no income tax despite a combined income from their Australian operations of $138 billion, according to the Australia Institute.

The companies called out by the Australia Institute are:

  • Arrow Energy

  • APLNG

  • Chevron

  • ExxonMobil

  • Senex

Four of the five members of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) that haven’t paid any income tax are foreign owned, meaning all profits have gone straight offshore.

The research from the Australia Institute comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to open the APPEA conference in Brisbane today, the largest gas and oil industry event in Australia.

Failed promises

The research found that in 2012, APPEA claimed Queensland coal seam gas LNG companies would have paid around $11.2 billion in federal income tax by 2020.

They have paid almost none.

In 2015, Chevron estimated it would have paid around $4 billion in “direct taxations and royalties” by 2020.

It has paid no income tax or resource tax over that period.

In 2013, Shell claimed its Prelude floating LNG project would pay $12 billion in taxes over the life of the project.

Shell has paid no income tax since 2015.

Australian company Santos paid just $6 million income tax on $28.9 billion of income, and paid no income tax from 2015 to 2018 and 2020.

The Australia Institute said a thorough overhaul of taxation of the oil and gas industry in Australia was long overdue.

“It’s unbelievable that you can make $138 billion and pay nothing in tax,” Australia Institute principal adviser Mark Ogge said.

“Our governments should not be letting this happen and we need an overhaul of how the oil and gas industry is taxed in Australia.”

Ogge called out the major companies for promising billions of dollars in revenue and failing to pay it.

“We trust our politicians to tax our natural resources to the benefit of all Australians, but instead some of the largest gas miners, members of APPEA, are paying absolutely nothing,” he said.

“The Federal Government is virtually giving the resource away for free, gift wrapped in subsidies, mostly to foreign-owned companies, many of whom pay little, if any, tax.

“Imagine if you trusted an agent to sell your house to get the best deal possible, but instead they gave it to their mate for next to nothing. This is what is happening with our gas resources.”

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