Statement on company transparency report for 2014-2015

“Companies should pay every single dollar of tax that is required of them,” Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“The Australian public should feel assured that companies are meeting their tax obligations, which is why we’re encouraging our members to sign up to the voluntary Tax Transparency Code.

“Business Council members already account for 45 of the 65 companies that have signed up to the Tax Transparency Code. Those member companies accounted for $23 billion, or 34 per cent, of total company tax paid in 2014-15.

"The Tax Office’s publication of company tax data underscores the fact that Australia has some of the strongest transparency and integrity measures of any country in the world. New integrity measures passed recently by the Parliament will make corporate taxpayers even more accountable.

“This data should be interpreted with care. Companies do not pay company income tax on revenue – they pay it on profits after paying all expenses including wages, capital replacement, supplier costs, fleet costs and other operating expenses.

“Many small- and medium-sized businesses, in particular, do not make a profit in a given year, and even large businesses go through cycles where profits from major investments take time to be realised. Around 20 to 30 per cent of ASX 500 companies report a loss in any given year.

“This data highlights the significant contribution made by business to public services. The companies listed in the Tax Office’s report accounted for $42 billion of the $66 billion in company tax paid over the year.

“Company tax accounted for 19 per cent of Commonwealth tax revenue in 2014-15.

“Australian company taxes account for a greater share of the economy than in any OECD developed country other than Norway.”