Heath Aston, 22 March 2016
Manildra, the ethanol producer that enjoys mandated sales into the unleaded petrol supply in NSW, paid just $6.5 million in company tax on sales of more than $1 billion, according to its latest annual accounts, data released for the first time by the Australian Tax Office shows.
Manildra is owned by prolific political donor Dick Honan through his personal company Honan Holdings.
According to electoral records, Mr Honan donated $147,000 to the Liberal and National Parties at state and federal level in 2014-15 and $32,000 to Labor.
The tax paid by Honan Holdings was among the first release of information of 321 privately-owned companies with total income of $200 million or more.
Honan Holdings, it showed, declared total income of $1.2 billion in the 2013-14 tax year.
The company’s taxable income was $35 million and tax paid was $6.6 million – or just under 19 per cent of profit. The corporate tax rate is 30 per cent.
Contacted by Fairfax Media on Tuesday, Mr Honan said: “I do not have any comment to make to the Sydney Morning Herald. Thank you for calling.”
The ATO disclosure has revealed the tax paid by the private companies of other prominent donors for the first time.
Pratt Holdings, the Melbourne-based packaging company founded by the late Richard Pratt, paid no company tax in 2013-14, according to the ATO.
The company, which donated $235,000 to the Liberal Party last year, declared total income of $2.6 billion and taxable income of $88 million in the period.
In launching the disclosure, Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan insisted: “No tax paid does not necessarily mean tax avoidance.”
Linfox, the trucking group founded by Lindsay Fox, declared total income of $2 billion and taxable income of $116 million. It paid $33.6 million in tax.
Manildra has been one of the most active lobbyists of the NSW government.
Fairfax Media revealed last week that Mr Honan and his senior staff met with NSW Premier Mike Baird and other cabinet ministers on 20 occasions before the government agreed to force small fuel suppliers to sell an ethanol blend, E10, for the first time.
Critics, led by the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association, claim the decision will increase petrol prices by as much as 8¢ a litre.
In NSW, major retailers are required to ensure ethanol accounts for 6 per cent of all petrol sold but that has been running at about 2 per cent.
Mr Jordan said companies owned by wealthy individuals were large tax contributors, paying about $100 billion a year in tax – or about one third of total ATO revenue.
“They constitute less than 1 per cent of the individual taxpayer population and less than 5 per cent of the business population. However, collectively they contribute $40.5 billion in net income tax representing 17 per cent of the total ATO income tax collections,” he said.
Extracted in full from the Sydney Morning Herald.