BHP settles row with Australian taxman


Mining giant BHP Billiton has ended a long-running dispute with the Australian taxman over the sale of raw materials through an offshore entity.

The agreement with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) covers a dispute stretching back to 2003 and will see BHP fork out 529 million Australian dollars (£368 million) covering the 2003–2018 period.

However, BHP made no admittance of any tax avoidance as part of the deal.

BHP finance chief Peter Beaven commented: “This is an important agreement and we are pleased to resolve this longstanding matter.”

“The 529 million Australian dollars payable under the settlement is in addition to the more than 75 billion in Australian taxes and royalties that has already been paid by BHP over that same period.”

The dispute centred on the use of BHP’s Singapore marketing business, which acts as the mining firm’s portal to Asia’s manufactures and traders.

But from July next year, BHP will increase its ownership of the business – BHP Billiton Marketing AG – to 100% from 58%, meaning all profit in Singapore related to Australian assets will be taxable in Australia.

Mr Beaven added: “The settlement provides clarity for BHP and the ATO in relation to how taxes will be assessed and paid on the sale of Australian commodities. That certainty is good for business and for Australia.”