Friday, 22 January 2016

Change your company name, sling the Liberal Party a few thousand, switch tax havens, and you're off and running to receive government contracts valued in the billions

Watching multinational corporations harvest Australia is oddly fascinating. 

Take this example........

Since swimming into public view during the Howard Government years when it made political donations to the Queensland & Victorian divisions of the Liberal Party of Australia totaling $10,000 (2000-01), multinational corporation Accenture Plc (formerly Anderson Consulting) has won government contracts valued at an est.$2.27 billion to date.

Accenture Plc listed on the New York Stock Exchange around 2001 and as a prime contractor in September 2006 quit its £175M UK National Health Service contracts because of cost-overruns and delays in its delivery of the IT programme. Repays just £63M to drop these contracts.

Sometime between 2002 and 2007 two staffers of two former Liberal ministers in the Howard Government appear to found employment with Accenture.

Accenture switched tax havens in 2009 – going from being based in Bermuda to being headquartered in Ireland. None of its principal executives are believed to be based in Ireland, living instead in the USA or Europe.

Also in 2009 it was reported that Accenture's Australian Taxation Office (ATO) contracts were worth an est. $580 million.

According to its own website Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 305,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$30.0 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2014.

This was an increase of 5 percent in both U.S. dollars and local currency compared with the previous fiscal year and, gross margin (gross profit as a percentage of net revenues) for 2013-14  was 32.3 percent.

In 2013-14 the Asia Pacific region (including Australia) produced net revenues for this multinational corporation of $3.89 billion.

In Australia according to the 2013-14 Report of Entity Tax Information ACCENTURE AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS PTY LTD had:
Total Income: $1.40 billion
Taxable Income: $170.42 million
Tax Paid: $50.50 million.

So an est. 3.60% of its total Australian income went in taxation in 2013-14 or an est. 29.63% of what it calculated was its local taxable income.

With no apparent sense of irony in November 2013 Accenture made a submission to the National Commission of Audit which concluded with this in the document’s executive summary:

In order to maintain a vibrant level of economic growth to provide rising living standards for its citizens, Australia must restrain the growth of public sector expenditure within the limits of its capacity to fund it.
Citizens want growing public services, but will not tolerate a growth in taxation above the rate of economic growth.
The gap between aspirations and willingness to pay has been recently filled by large and unsustainable levels of borrowing which has left a record level of Commonwealth debt.
In order to deal with this problem in the short term, adjustments to expenditure and revenue will be essential.
In the medium term, however, the government will need to adjust its forms of service delivery in order to maintain and enhance them without cost over runs.
This can be achieved by changing the style of management, the uses of technology and the structure of the public sector to mirror the efficiencies that are widespread in the private sector.

On July 7 2014 Fortune magazine listed Accenture Plc as one of the Top American corporate tax avoiders.

In November 2015 the ATO confirmed Ramez Katf, managing director of products for Accenture A/NZ will take over as ATO Chief Information Officer (IT) in 2016.

In 2015-16 the ATO commences a short-term arrangement with Accenture to use their Philippines Delivery Centre to increase its IT capability in application development for new policy implementation.

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