Uber: What’s the Scam?

by | Jul 11, 2021 | What's the scam?

Lockdown is bliss for some. Uber Australia’s accounts are out – late – and the multinational which defines people on mopeds as its “partners”, not employees, is coining it. What’s the scam?

The scam is they collected $6bn in cash from Australian customers last year during the pandemic – double the $3bn the year before, and managed to pay tax of just $17m. A “service fee” of $643m was paid to somebody, probably its Netherlands parent.

Thanks to Uber’s auditors, the reliable masterminds of tax dodging, PwC, the accounts are a adequately confusing, but what is clear is that while Rideshare might have taken a first-half hit, Uber Eats went stratospheric, and right now, with Sydney in lockdown again, they will be braining it again. 

Uber’s P&L records $1bn revenue in Australia last year for a gross profit of $986m. The aim of course was to wipe that profit out, rip it offshore, so they did this a number of ways (besides service fees), charging $234m in marketing expenses (that we can almost believe) and $763 million “administration” (which is ludicrous).

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.

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