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Rio Tinto to repay ATO $1 billion in unpaid taxes

·Personal Finance Editor
·2-min read
The exterior of the ATO building and a sign that says Rio Tinto.
The ATO and Rio Tinto have settled decades-old tax disputes (Source: Getty)

Rio Tinto has agreed to pay close to $1 billion to finalise a tax dispute with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

The settlement brings an end to all of the company’s tax disputes, including long-standing issues in relation to Rio’s Singapore marketing hub.

ATO deputy commissioner Rebecca Saint said the settlement represented one of the largest in Australia’s tax history.

“This settlement is a very good outcome for the Australian tax system,” Saint said.

“Even prior to this settlement, Rio has been one of Australia’s largest payers of income tax for many years, with a strong track record of engaging with the ATO in relation to its tax affairs, albeit with some areas of dispute.

“Rio have announced that the settlement agreed to has secured approximately $1 billion for the Australian community for past years, over and above their tax returns originally filed.”

Saint said the settlement also locked in future tax outcomes and would provide certainty going forward.

“This means that additional profits from the sale of Rio’s Australian-owned commodities will be taxed in Australia in the years to come,” she said.

“The resolution of these matters means that ordinary Australians can have confidence that even the biggest companies are held to account to pay their tax due.”

Rio Tinto will pay an additional $613 million for unpaid tax between 2010 and 2021, on top of $378 million it has paid back on amended assessments issued by the ATO, including interest and penalties.

Rio chief financial officer Peter Cunningham said the company was glad to have resolved the long-standing disputes and had gained certainty over future tax outcomes relating to its Singapore marketing arrangements.

"Rio Tinto remains committed to our commercial activities in Singapore and the valuable role played by our centralised commercial team," Cunningham said.

Rio Tinto has followed in the footsteps of several multinationals, including Google, BHP, Apple, ResMed and Microsoft, which have previously settled tax bills with the ATO.

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