Media group Here, There and Everywhere (HT&E) has been slugged with a $179 million tax bill by the Australian Tax Office relating to the how it accounted for revenue from the sale of some of its New Zealand assets.
The bill includes $102 million in readjusted tax revenue, penalties of $49 million and interest of $28 million on revenue between 31 December 2009 and 31 December 2016.
It refers specifically to the demerger of its New Zealand radio and publishing business, New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME), which was completed in June 2016.
The demerger included the country’s largest newspaper, The New Zealand Herald, regional newspapers, a radio network and digital classifieds sites.
HT&E advised the Australian Stock Exchange in a statement that it will challenge the penalties imposed on it, which amount to about 50% of readjusted tax revenue during the period.
It said that it “remained satisfied” that it’s accounting treatment was consistent under tax law and “strongly disagrees” with the penalty rates imposed.
The company, which operated as APN at the time of the spin off, said it would consider litigation if necessary.
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