Apple says it has survived an Australian tax audit without penalty

The release of the iPhone 7 at the Apple Store in Sydney. Don Arnold/WireImage

The multinational technology giant Apple says it has emerged unscathed from an audit by the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

“We have confirmation from the ATO that all our corporate taxes are up to date and we continue to engage only with the ATO as to our current and future taxes,” says local managing director Tony King.

King, answering questions in a Senate committee hearing investigating corporate tax avoidance, says the extensive ATO audit ended in May this year.

The ATO was looking at Apple’s transfer pricing structure, a method sometimes used to shift profits offshore to a country with a lower tax rate.

In Apple’s case, a $58.3 million tax adjustment was applied, which the company has paid.

“We believe our taxes are fully up to date,” King said.

King says the new Australian diverted profits tax, sometimes called the Google tax, has not affected Apple.

“The anti-avoidance legislation is designed to look at companies who have their books and records, unlike Apple, on an offshore basis,” he told the committee.

“The diverted profits tax does not impact Apple’s operations in Australia.”

All transactions by Apple are captured locally in Australia.

“The ATO has looked at all our books and records, it’s had interviews with all our executive teams to understand what we do here in Australia,” said King.

King revealed that revenue for Apple in Australia for 2016 was $7.5 billion.

Of that, $128 million was paid in tax, including the $58.3 million adjustment.

For the 12 months, net profit was just $400,000.

The year before the tax bill was $146.3 million.

He says the tax bill fell in 2016 because revenue had eased in Australia.

During the five years audited by the ATO, King says Apple paid $630 million in tax in Australia.