Miners strangely silent on the billions they reap in tax credits
Charles Berger; 11/5/10
Resource giants shriek about what they pay. Here’s what they get. The mining industry, in its furious offensive against the proposed resource rent tax, is playing the old magician’s trick of getting you to stare at their right hand, while ignoring what the left is doing. The tax they pay is their right hand, the benefits they receive in return is their left. Don’t be fooled. Any fair discussion of resources tax must include not only the tax side of the equation, but also the billions of dollars of benefits the industry receives each year, courtesy of the Australian taxpayer. Let’s begin with fuel. You and I pay 38¢ per litre in excise when we fill up at a petrol station. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto also pay tax on their fuel, but the government gives nearly all of it back through the Fuel Tax Credits program. The mining industry is the largest beneficiary of this scheme (which is available to a range of businesses), receiving $1.7 billion per year in credits.