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Husic takes aim at Apple's tax bill


Labor MP Ed Husic has again taken aim at IT giant Apple in parliament, this time over how much tax its Australian operations pay.

"We cannot afford to have some businesses paying their fair share and others having a lighter load," Mr Husic told the Federation Chamber, an offshoot of the House of Representatives, on Wednesday.

He said Apple generated $6 billion in revenue in 2011 but only paid $40 million in tax - less than one per cent of its turnover.

Its profit for the year was reported to be just $99 million.

"While they generated $6 billion in revenue, they apparently racked up ... $5.5 billion in costs. How?" Mr Husic told parliament.

"They do not manufacture here. They have no factories here.

"They have got a growing number of retail outlets ... but surely those outlets do not cost $5.5 billion to maintain".

He suggested the costs were tied to the opaque transfer pricing agreement between Apple's Australian operations and its US parent.

The MP slammed the company's Australian management for their "cloak of invisibility" and refusal to engage on public policy issues.

He compared this approach with Google, which he said was similarly being targeted over its tax bill but was at least willing to engage.

The member for Chifley has previously targeted Apple for a pricing strategy which sees Australian consumers charged much more for the same products than US shoppers.

Last week, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Australia should use its chair position to get the G20 in 2014 to change the rules around the movement of the accounting of capital and profit.

She suggested that some of the lower-than-expected company tax take in recent years could be put down to companies moving capital and profit centres offshore.