Kellogg’s hits taxpayers, small business and health

by Michael West | Dec 10, 2017 | Despatch

US cereal giant Kellogg’s paid zero tax on $444 million in revenues in Australia last year, according to the Tax Transparency data which was furtively released last Thursday evening just half an hour ahead of parliament’s historic vote on Same Sex Marriage.

Kellogg’s is exhibiting quite an unseemly corporate track record in this country, forcing payment terms for small business out to 120 days, paying a measly $23,401 in income tax on $928 million in revenue over the past two years, and being outed for for funding studies which have become part of government advice on health.

Kellogg’s “junk science” and Australia’s health policy

Last year, revealed three multinationals, Kellogg’s, Mars and Fonterra had pushed payment times for their small suppliers out to 120 days. It used to be 30 days.

Pay time: the big squeeze on small business

The release of the Tax Transparency data showing Kellogg’s pays negligible amounts of tax in Australia begs the question, how does Kellogg’s justify a social licence to operate in this country? Among other “sugar lobby” players, the company has infiltrated the nutrition profession’s peak body, Dieticians Association of Australia.

Diabetes, the sugar lobby and Big Pharma

Kellogg’s is certainly not unique as a multinational company operating here in avoiding tax. It is not unique in using its local suppliers as a bank. Neither is it unique in cajoling government policy to suit its own ends. But all three? Now, that’s a bit rich.

In the 2014 year, it paid $4 million on revenues of $483 million – having managed to get its profit down to $24 million – which makes, over a three-year period, tax of $4 million on revenues of $1.4 billion.

ATO data dump: naming and shaming the nation’s biggest tax cheats

Michael West established Michael West Media in 2016 to focus on journalism of high public interest, particularly the rising power of corporations over democracy. West was formerly a journalist and editor with Fairfax newspapers, a columnist for News Corp and even, once, a stockbroker.

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