Dentsu Aegis Network, News and Foxtel listed among Australian corporate tax avoiders

Dentsu Aegis Network has been named by the Australian Taxation Office as paying no corporate taxes on its local income of over $291 million in the 2015-16 financial year.

The details were released yesterday by the ATO in its 2015-16 corporate tax transparency report, which also named News Australia and Foxtel as non-payers of local corporate income tax.

The news comes four days before the tender for the federal government’s master media account closes – a contract that last year earned the incumbent Dentsu over $175 million.

In the 2015-16 financial year the ATO said Dentsu Aegis reported total income of $291,290,206 but the taxable income column in the report is blank.

In the report, the ATO explained: “As the legislation does not allow for the reporting of an amount of zero or less, these fields are left blank.

“Confidentiality provisions prevent the ATO providing any additional information about particular taxpayers in the report. Some entities may provide further context and explanation on their own websites, or in financial or tax reports such as those produced under the Voluntary Tax Transparency Code.”

A spokesperson from Dentsu Aegis Network told Mumbrella: Dentsu Aegis Network complies with all Australian tax laws and regulations and is fully transparent in any dealings with the Australian Taxation Office. Further, the company’s financial statements are prepared in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards and are audited annually by a large international accounting firm.”

News Australia reported $2,940,636,294 while also reporting no taxable income.

Foxtel’s taxation picture was more complex with Foxtel Cable Television Pty Ltd and Foxtel Management paying no tax on $2,031,705,308 and $237,023,747 respectively, but Foxtel Holdings paid $19,908,594 in tax on $794,553,356 total income and News Pay TV Financing paying $27,621,710.

A News spokesperson told Mumbrella: “News Corp Australia pays the right tax. We treat our obligations to the national seriously and comply with all tax laws.

“Tax is only paid on income (ie. profits) not revenue. The ATO disclosure of gross income is of limited use without any recognition of the cost of earning this income. The ATO acknowledges this as outlined in their guidance notes.”

The ATO report is part of the tax integrity package established by the federal government in the 2016 budget in response to the Panama Papers’ disclosures that revealed widespread tax avoidance by global corporations.

The Federal Treasurer’s office has been contacted for comment.

Update: The original version of this story named data analytics firm Quantium as being on the ATO’s list. It transpires the Quantium listed is in fact a Singaporean logistics company of the same name. Mumbrella apologies for the confusion.



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