Apple made a tremendous amount of money last quarter worldwide — $18 billion, give or take a little bit. That figure could well be the largest ever quarterly company profit anywhere in the world. But last year, from the $6 billion that changed hands in Australia, only $80 million made its way to the Australian government as tax.
SMH reports that the $80 million figure, available in the company's local filing with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, is actually double what Apple paid in the year before. Despite that, it still represents only a small fraction of total revenues — we don't know how it compares to profits, but a professor at the University of Sydney Business School told SMH it suggests the company continues to shift profits to overseas locations.
Profit shifting remains entirely and completely legal, of course — if this is taking place, Apple is doing nothing wrong. However, a Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance is scheduled to begin in March, and SMH suggests that Apple will be one of the companies called to explain its global tax strategies. While Apple continues to make plenty of money in Australia, we still don't see a huge percentage of that reflected as tax into government coffers. [SMH]