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Turns out Netflix profited off our misery and didn’t even pay tax

While we all knew this was coming, the numbers are official – Netflix Australia saw a major boom in revenue due to pandemic-related streaming.

It’s official, capitalism is the worst. Streaming-giant and cultural-overlord, Netflix, saw a 17 per cent boom in local revenue last year as the entire country was forced to stay on the couch during the lockdown.

However, in total Netflix paid just $553,705 in local income tax, which also increased by 14 per cent from 2019 due to higher non-deductible tax expenses. That’s suspicious… that’s weird.

Netflix The Crown
Image: Mamamia

 

Netflix Australia, known for shows such as The Queen’s Gambit and Tiger King, made $20.5 million in local revenue and a profit of $878,234 in the year ending December 31, according to documents filed to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

However, these figures do not include local subscriber revenue, which is collected at Netflix Australia’s parent company in the Netherlands. However, large increases in certain fees from Netflix Australia’s ‘parent’ in Holland indicates growth in local users.

The fees jumped 23 per cent to $10.6 million in 2020, compared to $8.5 million in 2019, due to an increase in subscribers. Netflix Australia’s rise in total revenue, as well as a 19 per cent increase in operating expenses, also indicates the growth of the ‘local’ business.

Audience monitoring firm, Telsyte, which is considered to be the most accurate in terms of Netflix subscriber estimates, also confirmed that Netflix had roughly 5.4 million subscribers in Australia in August last year – bumping Netflix’s total subscriber estimates to roughly between $712 million and $1.3 billion last financial year.

So, why did they only pay $553,705 in local income tax?

Well, regarding the blatant lack of tax paid, Netflix is clearly touchy about the matter.

“We comply with all Australian and international tax law,” a Netflix spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“In addition, we continue to invest aggressively in Australian content.”

Netflix’s local results come after the company began to invest more in local content due to potential federal regulation, which could see Netflix and other global streaming services dedicate a certain amount of funding to Aussie productions.

However, while Netflix may have turned a crispy buck off our miser, subscriber figures are expected to drop in the next year as the world’s economy cools off from COVID.

Netflix revealed two weeks ago it had added 3.98 million subscribers across the globe in the first three months of 2021, compared to a staggering 15.77 million paid subscribers at the same time in 2020.