The Herald has been running a series on multinationals, and the low level of tax they pay in NZ.
But there is one multinational they have ignored.
The Herald keeps looking at tax paid in relation to revenue, so we should do the same for APN. What are the stats?
- Revenue – 2014 $843.1 m, 2015 $850.0 m
- Tax paid – 2014 $9.2m, 2015 $19.8m
- Tax as a percentage of revenue – 2014 1.1%, 2015 2.3%
But that isn’t the real shocker. Here’s the real hypocrisy.
The 20 companies being targeted by the Herald have all paid the amount of tax they are legally bound to pay. APN HAS NOT.
Look at their annual report:
The Company is involved in a dispute with the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD) regarding certain financing transactions. The dispute involves tax of NZ$64 million for the period up to 31 December 2014. The IRD is seeking to impose penalties of between 10% and 50% of the tax in dispute in addition to the tax claimed. The Company has tax losses available to offset any amount of tax payable to the extent of NZ$48 million.
On 22 February 2013, the Adjudication Unit of the IRD advised that it agrees with the position taken by the IRD. Accordingly, the Company was issued with Notices of Assessment denying deductions in relation to interest claimed on certain financing transactions. In response to this step, the Company has commenced litigation in the High Court of New Zealand to defend its position in relation to this matter.
APN, the owners of the Herald, are tax dodgers. The IRD has pinged them for $64 million of tax, and penalties of up to 50% (which they generally only do if they think it is in bad faith). And APN are fighting this in court.
How on earth does the Herald have the gall to lecture other companies on the amount of tax they pay, when their own parent company has been found by the IRD Adjudication Unit to have illegally dodged $64 million of tax.