LETTER: 'Who is doing the heavy lifting?'

WHO is doing Joe Hockey's "heavy lifting" to bring down the budget deficit?

Certainly not the corporate elite.

The top 200 companies listed on the ASX paid an average 23% tax compared to the official rate of 30%, costing the government $84 billion since 2004. A third of these financial heavy-weights paid 10% or less, and 14% paid no tax at all.

One of the ways companies reduce tax is by having subsidiaries in tax havens.

Glencore, Australia's largest coal miner, earned $15 billion over three years and took out $3.4 billion in loans from subsidiaries registered overseas at a claimable 9% interest rate.

Half the company's coal sales were to a related party. Through the combination of these practices, Glencore reduced its tax bill to "almost nothing."

At the same time, Glencore received $17.6 billion over six years in state government subsidies, and $4.5 billion a year in federal government subsidies.

Hockey's promised "structural reforms" will further reduce social spending, opening the path for deeper corporate tax cuts.

Tell me again - who's doing the heavy lifting?

DIETER MOECKEL

Wonbah



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