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Corporate tax, inequality & bastard banks

Article (1,282 words) posted on 19 Apr 2018 by Rosie Williams

Corporate tax is a hot topic in Australia with major corporations lobbying hard for a cut in the tax rate even while the business practices of Australia's banks are revealed to one and all as little better than criminal. Aware of the rising inequality driven by multi-national tax minimisation and avoidance, many Australians are justifiably angry.

AusGov.info contains Australia's top-earning companies (including the likes of Google, Apple, BHP, Glencore & ExxonMobil). In fact, there's a tonne of information at AusGov.info so I thought I'd break out a guide for how to search some of the datasets. I'll start with the 'recipients' data.

This data includes the following datasets:

  • AEC political donations data - receipts to & from political parties
  • ACNC charities register - ABN, address, beneficiaries, electorate
  • ACNC Annual Information Statements - Assets, Liabilities, Income, Expenses, Grants/Tenders
  • ATO Tax Transparency data - Income, Tax Payable, Tax Paid
  • DSS welfare demographics data - Recipients by Payment Type
  • Commonwealth tenders data - (only totals of tenders received by entity available atm)

The idea of calling this particular search 'recipients' data is because all these datasets contain entities or numbers of individuals who receive money either from the government or direct from the public (as with donations to charities or political parties or in the form of tax concessions). ATO Tax Transparency data provides info on the tax (or lack thereof) paid by our 'top-earning' companies.

To search across all these datasets click on the icon with the people in the menu & select the top link: 'Search recipients datasets'.

This brings up a page with some basic instructions for using this search with some examples linked in. The initial result you will get with this search is one or more bar charts with totals for matches to your search term from each dataset and if there are matches in the charities data, a list of matching names from the charities register.

This basically tells you which datasets and which years have matches.

Hint: Use broad terms and don't include punctuation, Pty etc. Searches in AusGov.info usually look for an exact match first then falls back to a 'like' match which finds partial matches.

Qantas has results from most of the datasets as it has made political donations, is among Australia's top-earning companies, has related charities and has been awarded Commonwealth tenders. The tenders data is in the site but the breakdown isn't available at the moment due to recent site-wide changes but you can see the total value of any Commonwealth tenders received between 2013 & 2018. [I'm planning to finish implementing the rest of the site which includes tenders when I have gained 60 patrons on Patreon.]

With the exception of the tenders chart, use the bars to drill down by clicking on the bar that you want from the dataset you want or if there are matching charities and/or political parties listed below the charts, click on the name in the list to see those results.

The idea of AusGov.info is to integrate datasets so that users can find matches from multiple datasets at the same time to show the public what we all want to know about the way money flows in Australia. At AusGov.info you can see which top-earning companies paid tax, which companies paid no tax, and which companies made political donations (listed by the amount of tax they paid). Click on the bar graph to get the data for that year.

Get the annual data for each entity by clicking on the company name.

We all have a right to know who the powerful organisations are in our society, which taxpayer funds they receive and which organisations and people they, in turn, provide financial support to. The reason we have not had anything like this before is the lack of data, difficulty level which requires custom coding, financial expertise and enough funding to pay for the kind of team that would normally create a project of this scope.

It is important that Australia gets behind this project both morally and financially. If you would like to support this work please consider one of the options. Your donation will be appreciate not only by myself but by every Australian who values transparency and accountability.