Rio Tinto pays $US5.1bn in taxes and royalties

Rio Tinto has released information pertaining to its taxes and royalties paid in 2017. The company paid $US5.1 billion ($6.6 billion) in all, with a notable majority of $US3.8 billion going towards Australian taxes.

Due to how Rio’s payment structure is set up, the company expects to pay an additional Australian tax instalment of $US1.2 billion in June 2018 for the 2017 calendar year. Over half of the company’s resources are in Australia.

Other countries where the operator paid significant taxes include Canada at $US387 million, Chile at $US318 million, Mongolia at $US228 million, South Africa at $US93 million, the United Kingdom at $US81 million, United States at $US78 million and Guinea at $US45 million.

Rio’s local taxes and royalties for 2017 are considerably higher than 2016, where the company paid $US1.8 billion in Australia out of a total of $US4 billion. The company’s highest tax payment since it started publicly reporting them in 2010 was its $US7.8 billion payment in 2012.

The company has sometimes received criticism in the media for not paying enough tax (a recent example is a piece published this morning in the Sydney Morning Herald).

In a statement, Chris Lynch, Rio Tinto chief financial officer, cited the importance of tax transparency and praised the recent reduction in US corporate tax implemented by the US Government, which slashed the the tax rate from 35 per cent to 21 per cent.

“Investment capital is internationally mobile and a competitive tax system is important to encourage the development of new projects,” he said. “We have a long-running commitment to transparency about how and where we pay taxes.

“Rio Tinto aims to make a positive, lasting contribution to the communities and countries in which we operate. Part of this contribution takes the form of taxes paid to national, regional and local government.

“We believe it is important for our investors, communities and other stakeholders understand the significant economic contribution we make through the tax we pay.”

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