The Australian Banker’s Association has issued a new report on its website, aiming to shed light on the banking sector’s contribution to tax revenues.
The ABA also stepped up its attack on the South Australian government, which last week introduced a bank levy of its own.
The report says that Australian banks contributed more than $14 billion of total tax revenue in 2016.
Noting that Australia’s corporate tax rate of 30% already ranks high internationally, the report said that Australian banks contributed to more than half of the $22.4 billion in total income tax paid by ASX200 companies in 2016.
“In terms of tax paid, it is banks first, daylight second”, said Toney Pearson, the ABA’s Director of Industry Policy.
“Banks make the highest contribution by far to help governments at all levels fund essential public services such as hospitals, schools and roads, and income support for those in need.”
This chart shows the individual income tax contributions of the major Aussie banks in 2016:
Amid the renewed push from the ABA to try and scrap the levy, ANZ’s top brass (including chief executive Shayne Elliot) flew into Adelaide for talks with Premier Jay Weatherill.
The Australian reported that that law firm King & Wood Mallesons has been retained to explore the possibility of a constitutional challenge against the levy in the High Court.
The South Australian government is so far standing by its decision to implement the levy, while the state’s Opposition has yet to make its position clear on whether or not it supports the levy.
“The Weatherill Government simply doesn’t get it,” Pearson said.
In addition to providing details of the tax paid by the big Aussie banks, Pearson took the opportunity to discuss their contribution to employment and the broader Australian community.
“The banking industry makes a vital contribution to the community. Banks employ 140,000 people around the country — around 8,000 of those in South Australia,” he said.
“In 2016, banks paid $25 billion in wages and salaries to staff, $26 billion in dividends to shareholders – many of whom are mums and dads – and $66 billion in interest on bank deposits and bonds.”