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Waikato-Tainui tax bill a disgrace

Waikato-Tainui tax bill a disgrace
23 JULY 2017

The self-congratulations by Waikato-Tainui for its record profit announcement today is soured by the fact it doesn’t pay company tax on the vast majority of its investments, points out the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union. The tribal authority, Te Whakakitenga o Waikato, today announced a net profit of $137.8 million, an increase in tribal wealth by $128 million to $1.07 billion, despite the group paying only twelve thousand dollars of income tax in the previous financial year. The small amount is because most of the tribe’s commercial investments can avoid paying company tax, even if no profits are distributed or spent on the tribe’s charitable activities.

Jordan Williams, the Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, said “While politicians complain about overseas companies like Google and Facebook not paying their fair share of tax, everyone is turning a blind eye to these enormous tribal and religious empires which pay almost no tax, despite only a tiny proportion of the profits going back into the communities they are meant to serve. It is a disgrace.”

“Even of those parts of the group which pay tax, most are subject to a lower ‘Maori authority’ rate – something National said they’d get rid when they were in opposition.”

“Charitable companies, whether they are owned by a tribe, church, or any other group deemed ‘charitable’, should only have the tax privilege based on the actual amount that is spent on charity. Instead, companies like Go Bus and Sanitarium are given a 28% competitive advantage because they don’t pay any company tax, even if all the profits are reinvested. That’s wrong, and it’s about time people started taking notice.”

Now that companies are able to deduct 100% of their taxable income for charitable giving, the Taxpayers’ Union believes that only those profits actually distributed to charity should be tax-free. Currently, companies are able to be deemed ‘charitable’ (and not pay income tax) simply because the shareholder is a charity (regardless of whether profits are actually distributed to the charity).

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