Mining tax massive fail

The Federal Government has raised zero revenue in the first three months of the mining tax.

The Federal Government has raised zero revenue in the first three months of the mining tax.

Major miners, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata have no liabilities under the minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) and the government did not receive any revenue by Monday’s payment deadline, The Herald reported.

A high Australian dollar, lower commodity prices and falling mining profits means the tax payments the government was banking on from the three miners will be much lower than the 90 per cent expected.

It was estimated that BHP and Rio alone would provide between $1 billion and $1.5 billion in MRRT payments in 2012-13.

Earlier this week the government cut MRRT revenue predictions from $3.7 billion to $2 billion for the 2012-13 financial year.

A spokeswoman for BHP told The Australian: "The MRRT is a profits-based tax; the level of company liability for it will naturally vary each year.

"In working out what MRRT we are liable for in any year, there are a number of variable components . . . The structure of the MRRT is exactly the same since it was announced in 2010 and it was then that Treasury forecasts were made about likely MRRT receipts."

SMH reported that Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey told reporters in Sydney that the tax was a failure.

"I have never heard of a tax that doesn't raise a dollar," he said. "This is a new benchmark in public policy."

However, Labor played down the lack of revenue.

"It was never projected to raise (revenue) in the early part … because these mining companies are making massive infrastructure investments, which are tax deductable," Mr Crean told the Nine Network.

"Arguing that this is a failure based on the first three months is just ludicrous."

Mr Crean said the surplus would "absolutely" be delivered as promised.

Australian Mining reported last year that doubts are being raised over the Gillard government’s expectations of revenue it would collect from mining taxes paid by Australia’s three biggest resource companies.

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