back to article What’s that Skippy? Google’s coughed up $330m in tax Down Under?

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has scooped A$481.5m (£252.3m, $330m) in back taxes from ad giant Google, its latest victory scored against big technology businesses including Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. The settlement has taken the tax collector's backtaxes barrel to AU$1.25bn: Apple coughed up AU$630m back in 2017 while …

  1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Over a ten years so about £25million pa from a still developing company in Australia. Given the declared company figures, the Aussie tax office are doing much better than the UK HMRC's massive tax revenue of £14million ...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      But Google doesn't have any sales in the uk

      1. robidy Silver badge

        and last we check Amazon was classed as a SMALL business...by the UK gov...seriously.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          I often wonder if we should just get all Ayn Rand for a while. That would mean Amazon would have to pay road tolls to get their shit delivered and, unless Amazon was going to pay for their deliveries to be policed, we could shoot the aerial deliveries down with relative impunity. They'd last two weeks.

          Ditto Google - we could just high-jack their traffic for our own needs and reduce their revenue to negative in a moment.

          The industrial revolution would have died on its feet with that model - it nearly did in the UK - public roads came about as many businesses were destroyed by toll roads popping up at their gates.

  2. Blackjack Silver badge

    Is just some Pocket Change..

    Hilariously Google probably expends more on their legal team than in this pittance.

    That word is french.

    I am not in a horse.

  3. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Yeah well

    I think I should pay tax at a similar rate to Google... so maybe HMRC would care to wait until I am dead and buried before collecting the 1p I might owe them by then?

    It is utterly inexplicable that governments STILL dont get this, STOP charging business on 'profit' as this is far too easily shipped to a foreign tax haven, start charging on sales. I pay my tax on my income NOT on my profit from going to work. Indeed all the moves by HMRC against contractors are exactly to stop contractors paying tax on profit instead of sales. A level playing field is needed, how can a corner shop or cafe compete against a supermarket or chain coffee shop that exports all its profit to a zero tax tax haven?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeah well

      You can't really lump contractors in here as contractors that avoid tax by reducing profits ultimately lose out by not being able to mortgage or remortgage a home for example. This has a huge impact on that contractors lifestyle and so on.

      Google offshoring sales profit has very little impact on their business if any.

    2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Yeah well

      > I pay my tax on my income NOT on my profit from going to work.

      Actually, you ARE paying tax on your profit from going to work. And so are Australians. You pay tax on your Net Income, after Deductions.

      It's just that in the UK, historically, allowable deductions have been wound down to buggerall. Nowadays, they're really only available to special categories of workers -- eg (IIRC) nurses buying uniforms, builders buying steelcap boots.

      In Australia the principle has been expressly stated: you pay tax on all income less all costs incurred in earning that income. The end.

      With two big exceptions: can't claim commuting costs (boo!chiz!), nor clothing-etc that's not special purpose (esp: suits). So that season-pass and that mounting drycleaning bill for your suit -- suck it up.

      Other than that, pretty much every work-driven cost is deductible: journal subscriptions, proportion of home-internet used for work, percentage of mortgage for room dedicated to work, income protection insurance, sunglasses, etc.etc.

    3. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Yeah well

      > STOP charging business on 'profit'

      I agree with your larger intent but strongly disagree with re-defining something as tail so you can wag the dog.

      The TOOL used, to manipulate profit, is what should be addressed.

      And that tool is Transfer Pricing (nearly always).

      Most commonly now of IP. So for example, Google-Luxembourg "owns" g's IP, including its trademarked name, and "charges" Google-UK BwahHaHa% of its revenue as royalties for use of the name/IP.

      Regulate transfer pricing, and you've smashed nearly all of the multinationals' tax dodging.

  4. RunawayLoop

    It's a start, albiet belated. Still a ways to go however... The tax office's own data showing 30% of companies (big one's) paid zero tax.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-12/ato-corporate-tax-transparency-data-companies-no-tax-paid/11789048

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Errr... careful. That info-"source" 's Chief Economics Correspondent firmly believes (and has castigated governments and the ATO) that if you e.g. buy a car for $1,000 and sell it for $800, you have made $200 PROFIT. Seriously.

      To put it another way, that organisation is hysterical fun but not an information source.

      The ATO's data shows that, of those large companies not paying tax:

      * 34% simply didn't make a profit, and

      * another 38% are still working thru previous losses (aren't back above water, profit-wise).

      Then:

      * 20.5% are taking advantage of standard ATO-created accelerated-deduction-rates (eg, write 100% electronics off in year of purchase for tax, depreciate over 3 years for real-world)

      Leaving a grand total of 7.5%.

      And they're taking advantage of special ATO-created rebates and subsidies and special offsets and so on, such as the Research & Development rebate (which the ATO is clamping down on).

      1. Precordial thump

        I'd believe ABC reporting before anything I read on, to pick a tax evader at random, Zuckerberg's spin factory. ABC has a legislated obligation to be accurate.

  5. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    *SMASHED* them!

    Gross Margin over that 10yrs was ~60%. [per here]

    Average AU-derived revenue ~A$2bn/yr [per newspaper TheAustralian]

    Taxable Income therefore average A$1.2bn/yr, vs Tax Paid ~A$50m

    therefore:

    Effective Tax Rate = 4.2%

  6. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

    Waratah National Park

    I took my relatives from Southampton to the locked gates of where the Skippy park was last week. Glad to know Skippy has defeated the wicked empire! Shame everything was blanketed in smoke for them. I remember after a bushfire burnt out that area when I was young ending up in the Skippy park overlooking the valley with small fires still burning.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow? you mean all those statements about you always pay the correct amount of tax owed, aren't true? that despite saying that, you habitually underpay and rely on tax authorities to conduct compliance and enforcement operations to pay the 'correct' amount? wow

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