The Australian Financial Review has reported that it had obtained documents from Apple Sales International, an Irish company that is at the core of Apple’s tax arrangements, which showed the company’s estimated income from 2002 to 2013. Apple reported pre-tax earnings in Australia that totalled just $88.5m last year, but sent $2bn of income to Ireland via Singapore in the same period, according to the AFR.
The shadow treasurer, Chris Bowen, said the federal government had not been doing enough to counter tax avoidance, after the Coalition announced it would not be supporting the closure of some loopholes in the banking regime.
“It’s not fair to other Australian businesses that do pay their fair share of tax if some companies are able to shift profits around to avoid tax,” he said on Thursday.
But the trade minister, Andrew Robb, defended the government, and said it was committed to closing loopholes.
“We are very strongly committed to seeking to capture that tax which has been avoided inappropriately,” he said on ABC Radio.
The finance minister, Mathias Cormann, said the government was working through the G20 to stop international tax loopholes.
“Our view is – and that is a view that is shared around the world – that business should pay their fair share of tax where they earn profits,” Cormann said.
Apple did not provide a response to questions about the story, but in a statement to a parliamentary oversight committee in April last year, Apple’s Australia vice-president, Tony King, said: “Our tax affairs in Australia are very straightforward.
“We report to the ATO all the revenue that we derive in the Australian market. We report to the ATO all the costs of doing business in the Australian market . . . We are very open with the Australian Tax Office.
“We pay our taxes when they are due, not only income tax expense but GST, payroll and any other tax that might be incurred in doing business in Australia.”
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