Ford, Holden, Nissan all paid no tax, audit shows

Ford, Holden, Nissan all paid no tax, audit shows

FORD and Holden both paid no tax in the 2015-16 financial year despite reporting more than $6.7 billion in income, documents released by the Australian Tax Office reveal.

The documents also show Nissan and former Peugeot and Citroen distributor Sime Darby also paid no income tax – the latter because it did not have any taxable income.

The taxation watchdog yesterday published a list of the tax paid by more than 2000 of Australia’s largest businesses. The list shows that overseas-owned companies are making the smallest contribution to the nation’s tax revenue – a third – despite making up half the companies audited in the report.

Ford Motor Company of Australia earned $2.53 billion in income, but the document shows the company earned no taxable income in its last full year as an Australian car maker. It reported a $2.37 million loss for the financial year, although it had made a string of other bigger losses in the lead-up to that financial year.

General Motors Australia, meanwhile, made $2.51 billion in income, while General Motors Holden Australia earned $1.76 billion in total income, the document shows. The car maker reported a $153 million profit for the financial year, claiming it paid $188 million in tax, although like Ford it has run up a string of losses as it moved to pay for the closure of its manufacturing operations.

Ford spokesman Martin Gunsberg told Wheels that the former car maker declared an operating loss in 2016, "due mainly to costs associated with transformation including decommissioning and separations".

"Our global products led by Ranger are strengthening our business, and are reflecting a profit, however this is still more than offset by the transformation costs we continue to incur," he said.

"It’s important to note that our operating loss in 2016 is one of the smallest Ford Australia has reported in recent years.

"We continue to invest in the future with nearly $2 billion in research and development in Australia the past six years, and a further $450 million in 2017 to bring more world-class vehicles like the Ranger and Everest to market for customers."

Holden was asked for comment, but is yet to respond.

The ATO said corporate income tax was payable on profit, not gross income, and in any given year a significant percentage of even the largest companies make losses, not just for tax purposes, but also for accounting purposes.

In contrast:

  •      Audi paid more than $7.2 million in tax on income of $285 million ($24.2 million in taxable income)
  •      BMW paid $43.2 million tax on $2.46 billion in income ($143 million taxable income)
  •      Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler paid $112.5 million tax on $3.6 billion in income ($375 million in taxable income)
  •      Fiat Chrysler Automobiles paid $10.7 million tax on $1.34 billion income ($35.6 million taxable income)
  •      Honda paid $3.7 million in tax on $960 million in income ($20.0 million taxable income)
  •      Hyundai paid $16.8 million in tax on income of $2.26 billion ($56.3 million in taxable income)
  •      Isuzu Ute paid $16.3 million in tax on income of $607 million ($54.4 million in taxable income)
  •      Kia paid $14.1 million in tax on income of $833 million ($47.3 million in taxable income)
  •      Mazda paid $32.7 million in income tax on $2.88 billion in income ($109 million in taxable income)
  •      Mitsubishi paid $397,000 in income tax on $369 million in income ($2.41 million taxable income)
  •      Nissan paid no tax on taxable income on $2.70 billion of income ($7.52 million in taxable income)
  •      Porsche Cars Australia paid $11.1 million in income tax on $623 million in income ($37.2 million in taxable income)
  •      Sime Darby paid no tax on $104 million in income (no taxable income)
  •      Subaru paid $33.6 million in income tax off income of $$1.45 billion ($112 million in taxable income)
  •      Suzuki Australia paid $3.10 million in income tax on $380 million of income ($10.4 million in taxable income)
  •      Toyota paid $138 million in income tax on $10.3 billion of income ($493 million in taxable income)
  •      Volvo paid $2.16 million in income tax on $$245 million of income ($7.20 million in taxable income)

Ford, Holden and Nissan join the likes of miner Adani, fuel retailers Chevron and ExxonMobil Australia, energy group Origin Energy, computing giant IBM and “protection solution” company Ansell – Collectively they reported earnings of around $25 billion – in paying no tax on their earnings for the 2015-16 financial year.

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