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BHP Billiton today expressed disappointment at the misrepresentation of the level of taxes paid by BHP Billiton on its Australian operations.

Chief Financial Officer Alex Vanselow said, "At the time the Australian Government announced its proposed new super tax, BHP Billiton clearly stated that in the 2009 financial year it paid total taxes to Australian governments of A$6.3 billion, resulting in an effective tax rate of around 43 per cent."

Mr Vanselow expressed concern that lower tax rate numbers were being attributed to the tax paid by BHP Billiton: "It concerns BHP Billiton that inappropriate conclusions appear to have been drawn from a study by two academics from a United States university. A more accurate and meaningful method is to use the actual tax payments and returns submitted by companies in Australia."

BHP Billiton pays three broad levels of taxation on earnings in Australia:

  • Company tax – paid on the taxable income of the business
  • Royalties – paid on the value and/or volume of resources extracted
  • Other production taxes – paid on the value of oil and gas resources extracted.

The rate of tax in the 2009 financial year and in relation to the six year period 2004 to 2009 inclusive, on all Australian operations of BHP Billiton is outlined below:

  Financial year ended 30 June 2009 (%) Average in relation to financial years 2004 to 2009 inclusive (%)
Effective Tax Rate (company tax, royalties and production taxes) 43 42

Note: the calculation of the above percentages has been agreed by BHP Billiton's independent external auditors, KPMG.

Total taxes paid by BHP Billiton's Australian operations in relation to the financial years 2004 to 2009 inclusive exceeds A$24 billion.

Mr Vanselow said, "The 2009 earnings of BHP Billiton's Australian operations were almost fully reinvested back in Australia in the form of taxes, royalties, capital applied to new and existing projects and dividends to shareholders."

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