Business

BHP settles huge Australia tax bill

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

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SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Mining giant BHP on Monday settled a long-running tax dispute with Australian authorities for AUS$529 million ($387 million), as the country pursues global firms shifting profits offshore to minimise liabilities.

The Australian Taxation Office has been investigating multinationals for alleged avoidance, such as through transferring billions of US dollars in profits offshore to countries like Singapore.

The world's biggest miner said it had reached the settlement with the ATO “with no admission of tax avoidance”.

“This is an important agreement and we are pleased to resolve this longstanding matter,” the Anglo-Australian firm's Chief Financial Officer Peter Beaven said in a statement.

The world's second-largest miner Rio Tinto is also facing a large bill from the ATO over its tax arrangements, and has said it would challenge the assessment.

Canberra has sought to crack down on tax avoidance by multinationals by introducing new laws, including stronger protection for whistleblowers and harsher penalties for failure to meet compliance or disclosure requirements.

Companies including Apple, Google and BHP were grilled on their tax structures at parliamentary hearings in 2015.

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