CBA salutes via a suite of tweaks

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Keating flogged-off the CBA for a total of $8.1 billion. Its annual profit now exceeds $7.1 billion ($5.6 billion in 2010), with $5 billion ($4.4 billion) annually in dividends which would once have gone to the Commonwealth Budget.

CBA was profitable the entire time it was owned by the government. There is no rational basis for any suggestion that it would have been less so now. While the CBA was undercapitalised in Cheating's time, its flogging-off was a deliberate act of administrative sabotage to benefit its profit-seeking rivals.

On its 2012 net profit of $7.1 billion, CBA will pay $2,736 million in tax - roughly half the $5 billion in dividends that today would have done wonders for the Commonwealth Budget. Such dividends would be IN ADDITION to the tax paid. Not only is the tax less than the dividend, that tax is less than it once was due to dividend imputation.

Tax avoidance schemes, transfer pricing, and tax havens had by 2010 also helped the big banks to substantially reduce the proportion of tax they pay. Some, such as Westpac, paid about two-thirds of the overall corporate tax rate in 2010.

Banks also benefitted from Laberals reductions from the 2010 Budget of the interest withholding tax paid by Australian banks and financial institutions when they accessed international wholesale funding markets and offshore retail deposits.