Federal MP and mining billionaire Clive Palmer has decided to pay his company’s carbon tax bill after last year challenging the Australian Tax Office to start legal proceedings.
The announcement by Palmer comes after an article by The Australian this week claimed his company Queensland Nickel could be closed as The Clean Energy Regulator moved to force him to pay the debt.
The newspaper claimed the company could owe as much as $35.8 million at the end of this financial year if the carbon tax bill was not settled.
Palmer said the report was false, and said his companies were “ good, law-abiding citizens ... and like all Australian citizens, we're doing the right thing", ABC reported.
A statement from Queensland Nickel said:
"In response to the invitation by the Clean Energy Regulator, on Tuesday, 1 April 2014 Queensland Nickel paid the amount of $6,815,046.22 to the Clean Energy Regulator thereby reducing the company’s carbon tax liability as at 31 December 2013 to zero."
The Clean Energy Regulator has confirmed it received the payment, but said more money was owed, saying it would pursue “payment plans and court proceedings” in order to force Palmer to cover the bill.
Palmer attacked The Australian for what he called a “purely fictional” article.
"You've got Rupert Murdoch and his cohorts writing stories which are not true, but they write them nonetheless," he said.
"They're a great bunch of fictional boys.
"All these stories are as though it's Clive Palmer. I don't owe any tax to anybody."
Last year Palmer made headlines for declaring he would not pay the controversial carbon tax after missing the payment deadline in June.
"We can justify it to our shareholders," he said in November.
"And the government, if they think they're owed the taxes, they should commence legal proceedings against us.
"We've commenced legal proceedings in the High Court of Australia against them."
Palmer has previously said that as part of the Coalition’s plan to repeal the tax, any revenue raised should be refunded.
"Our advice is [that] it's not a legal tax, regardless of policy issues," Palmer said yesterday.
"We're waiting for the hearing and when it happens, it'll be determined whether or not it's a legal tax."
Palmer said it was Queensland Nickel's board of directors pursuing the legal challenge against the tax, not for the first time distancing himself from business decisions.
"They decide what the company's corporate position will be," he said.