Government Must Ensure Facebook Pays Fair Tax in Australia

Research conducted for the Australia Institute's Centre for Responsible Technology shows 70 percent of Australians believe the big tech platforms Google and Facebook should pay more tax.

The research conducted as part of the Centre’s upcoming Big Tech Power Report has been released with news Facebook paid just $20 million in tax in Australia in 2020 against advertising revenue of $712.7 million – or less than three cents on the dollar.

"Facebook has bought the same fervour to building a dominant social network as it has to avoiding its responsibility to the nations where it operates," said Peter Lewis, director of the Australia Institute's Centre for Responsible Technology.

"As we saw when it withdrew news services earlier this year in the face of regulation, Facebook really does regard itself as above the law.

"Facebook minimises its tax by returning Australian revenue to low-taxing Ireland as IP payments, where it claims the advertising infrastructure that powers its business is housed.

"Facebook has faced pressure in a number of jurisdictions, including the US, to end this ruse and Australia needs to step up to the plate

"To its credit, the Government has pressured Facebook to compensate media companies for the use of their news. But this should just be the start of the process to hold Facebook to account.

"A tax on locally sourced advertising is a simple way that Facebook could be prevented from shifting its local revenue offshore.

"Assuming the corporate tax rate of 30 per cent, there is nearly $200 million that Facebook is currently pocketing rather than sharing with Australians."

The Big Tech Power Report: How Australians feel about the power of Big Tech and its impacts on Australian society can be downloaded here.