Rio in a tax war with ATO

16th September 2021 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH ( – Mining major Rio Tinto on Thursday said that it would dispute a A$352-million penalty by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

The ATO in March this year issued the miner with an amended assessment of A$359.4-million primary tax and A$47.1-million of interest, related to the denial of interest deductions on an isolated borrowing used to pay an intragroup dividend in 2015.

The borrowing was repaid in 2018.

The ATO on Thursday issued further assessments in relation to the same transaction levying penalties of A$352m-million and reducing the original interest assessment from A$47-million to A$27-million.

The miner said in a statement that borrowing to fund the payment of a dividend was a normal commercial practice, and added that it was confident of its position and would dispute the primary tax and penalty assessments.

Rio has paid 50% of the primary tax up-front as part of the objections process. Penalties and interest are not required to be paid until the primary tax matter is resolved.