The multinational that owns a suite of online travel brands, Expedia, pays no tax in Australia but actually gets government subsidies. What’s the Scam?
JobKeeper, that’s the scam. Buried in the notes to its financial statements, Expedia discloses it picked up a $7.1m grant from “government wage subsidy scheme”. It even got a small tax refund last year and forked out just $381,000 in income tax the year before.
The Delaware-based parent structures this racket like the other big player in Australia’s hotel duopoly Booking.com – indeed like eBay and a bunch of other digital giants. They don’t disclose the hundreds of millions in revenue they make in Australia. Their revenue is “inter-company service fees” of just $89 million.
Neither do they have an excuse to cry poor. They were all slogged here when the pandemic hit but quickly bounced into profit big time when the domestic travel boom went off in the second half of the year.
Salad days for tax dodgers, public hand-outs, a travel boom and no tax.
Michael West established michaelwest.com.au to focus on journalism of high public interest, particularly the rising power of corporations over democracy. Formerly a journalist and editor at Fairfax newspapers and a columnist at News Corp, West was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Social and Political Sciences.