MRRT raised $126m in last two quarters

By a staff reporter

Treasurer Wayne Swan has revealed the mineral resource rent tax earned $126 million for the federal government in the last two quarters.

The MRRT was forecast to raise $2 billion over the entire 2012/13 financial year.

"It's clear revenues from resource rent taxes have taken a massive hit from the impact of continued global instability, commodity price volatility and a high dollar," Treasurer Wayne Swan said.

This week, opposition and Greens senators voted to force Australian Taxation Commissioner Chris Jordan to reveal the amount of revenue raised.

The government had repeatedly argued, based on tax office advice, that releasing the information would be a breach of tax privacy laws.

Mr Swan said revenues were down across the economy.

"It’s clear revenues from resource rent taxes have taken a massive hit from the impact of continued global instability, commodity price volatility and a high dollar," he said.

"The information being released today was provided by the ATO following recent collections after it was satisfied disclosing two quarters’ instalments would not breach taxpayer confidentiality provisions of the Taxation Administration Act 1953.

"The government has always supported increased transparency in our tax system and we believe any revenue from the MRRT should be published - which is why I am making this information public after it was received earlier today."

But figures from the big miners - Rio Tinto Ltd, Xstrata and BHP Billiton Ltd - showed they did not appear to have paid any tax.

In a note to the treasurer, Mr Jordan said after receiving two quarters of revenue instalments, he had formed the view the disclosure would not breach privacy laws.

He took into account a range of factors, including the fact that the second instalment was substantially larger than the first.

Mr Jordan also considered the total number of MRRT payers, the degree of uncertainty with which such information could be used to deduce what a particular payer had paid as well as advice from the Australian Government Solicitor.

In terms of the MRRT, he noted it was a profits-based tax that raised more revenue when profits were higher and less when they were lower.

Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury is leading the government's work to broaden transparency in the business tax system, including MRRT revenue, and remove any ambiguity from reporting requirements.

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