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We have confidence in the tax compliance of large corporate groups

Large corporate groups make a significant contribution to our economy and play a critical role in the tax system.

Last updated 8 November 2022

The significance of large corporate groups

There are 1,989 large corporate groups in Australia, each with a turnover of more than $250 million. Their tax contribution and compliance helps support community confidence in our tax system.

Tax performance

The tax performance of large corporate groups matches their economic performance

The tax payments of Australian publicly listed businesses generally track closely with their reported pre-tax profits. The trend in the tax-to-income ratio of majority foreign-owned large corporate groups is also similar to comparable Australian public companies in recent years.

Recent fluctuations in corporate tax collections have been driven by a range of economic factors. This includes movements in commodity prices, in particular the iron ore price. These have led to changes in the profitability of Australia’s largest miners and their income tax payable.

For more information see Macro-level analysis is giving us confidence.

Tax gap

The large corporate groups income tax gap is similar to comparable jurisdictions and a relatively small proportion of the total corporate income tax base

The difference between the tax payable according to law and tax actually collected from taxpayers is the tax gap. Most of tax due is paid voluntarily and we collect some of the remainder through audit activity. What is left uncollected is known as the net tax gap.

In 2020–21, large corporate groups reported approximately $67.1 billion in corporate income tax. We estimate the net tax gap at $3.1 billion, or 4.2% for this fiscal year. We estimate the gross tax gap at $4.8 billion, or 6.5%.

For more information see Estimating the tax gap.

Initiatives under the Tax Avoidance Taskforce and capability and performance improvements are helping us to sustainably reduce the tax gap

The large corporate groups income tax gap estimate of 4.2% reflects our strong administration and compares well globally.

Under the umbrella of the taskforce, we design our initiatives to sustainably reduce the tax gap even further. We do this primarily by improving the amount voluntarily paid – that is, by reducing the gross tax gap.

For more information see Initiatives to sustainably reduce the tax gap.

The four pillars of compliance

Full compliance with 3 of the four pillars of compliance has us focused on the correct reporting pillar

Under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) framework, there are four pillars of tax compliance:

  • registration
  • lodgment
  • correct reporting
  • payment.

Large corporate groups have effectively full compliance with 3 of the four pillars:

  • registration – all large corporate groups are registered for tax purposes
  • lodgment – all active large companies lodge, albeit some late and requiring reminders
  • payment – large corporate groups generally make their tax payments on time. Any outstanding tax debt relates almost exclusively to disputed assessments.

Our key focus area with large corporate groups is the correct reporting of their taxable income. Disputes are usually in grey areas such as transfer pricing and the borderline between acceptable tax planning and tax avoidance.

For more information see The OECD four pillars of compliance.

Compliance results

Our compliance results are a small portion of the income tax paid by large corporate groups

Over the past 5 years, we have collected additional income tax from large corporate groups through our compliance activity. This has been less than 4% of the aggregate tax they paid voluntarily.

In some cases we do apply penalties where we considered there was a lack of reasonable care taken in applying the tax law. Generally our reviews do not identify the need to apply penalties due to recklessness or intentional disregard of the tax law.

For more information see Results from our compliance activities.