Tuesday, 15 January 2013 14:14
The Federal Government is resisting pressure to reveal how much it is receiving from the minerals resource rent tax.
The 30 per cent tax on the super profits of coal and iron ore miners was forecast to raise $2 billion in 2012/13.
Industry sources say the big three miners - BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata - don't expect to make any payments for the December quarter, repeating the outcome in the September quarter when they made no payments.
The coalition is demanding the government clarify how much the tax has raised since its introduction in July 2012, citing a promise by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to publish monthly updates of the revenue it had collected.
Finance Minister Penny Wong said the government reveals its resource rent tax receipts in her monthly financial statements.
But it could not be more specific about MRRT receipts because of taxpayer confidentiality, relying on Australian Tax Office advice that it would breach privacy provisions under the Taxation Administration Act 1953.
"The administration of tax law is independent of the government," a spokesman for Senator Wong told AAP on Tuesday.
"While the opposition advocates breaching the law to make a political point, we take our responsibilities more seriously."
Independent MP Rob Oakeshott said transparency in the public accounting of the MRRT was proving problematic with so few companies involved.
"Unless resolved, this will exacerbate the ... rumours about who is or isn't paying," he told The Australian.
Cabinet minister Craig Emerson said the MRRT was designed around high profits.
"If you have a profits-based tax you have to accept the swings and roundabouts that are associated with, for example, changes in iron ore prices which really have been quite volatile," he told Sky News.
Some industry analysts are tipping iron ore prices to reach $170 a tonne in the next few weeks, double those of last September.
For the latest news click here
For the latest Drive features click here
For the latest Travel features click here
For the latest Food & Drink features click here
Follow myresources.com.au on Twitter