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Australia unmasks 600 big earning companies which paid no tax in 2014

[SYDNEY] The Australian Taxation Office on Thursday published the names of nearly 600 companies which it said paid no tax last financial year, in an apparent move to force large multinationals to stop using legal loopholes to avoid paying tax.

The ATO published the income and tax rates of the more than 1,500 companies which reported total earnings over A$100 million (S$101.18 million) in the 2014 tax year. More than a third of the companies paid no tax, although some also reported no taxable income.

The move to name the companies comes amid mounting public anger at corporate tax minimisation at a time of government spending cuts designed to rein in a mounting budget deficit.

Google Inc, Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp revealed earlier this year they were under review by the ATO. The Australian subsidiaries of these global tech titans have denied any tax evasion.

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Google Australia Pty Ltd paid 10.1 per cent tax on its A$91 million in taxable income for the year, while Microsoft and Apple paid the full company tax rate of 30 per cent, the ATO data showed.

Australia and Britain are leading international efforts to tackle large companies over base erosion and profit-shifting methods.