In the third in a series of guest posts on the subject of Australian mining tax, Zebra (James Glover) considers the changes to the proposed tax the new prime minister, Julia Gillard, has negotiated with miners.
The Govt has announced a replacement for the RSPT discussed in earlier posts to a Mineral Resources Rent Tax (MRRT). The principle differences are the tax rate – 30% and a change in the deduction. For established mines it is now based on market value depreciated over 25 years and the uplift rate is 12% not 5%. In addition there is a 25% deduction from earnings upfront which makes the base rate of tax 22.5% rather than 40%.
This post replaces an earlier one I put up about the MRRT in which I erroneously assumed that the opt-in about using the market value of assets applied in the way I proposed in my second post. The key statement here is:
“Miners may elect to use the book or market value as the starting base for project assets, with depreciation accelerated over 5 years when book value, excluding mining rights, is used; or effective life (up to 25 years) when market value at 1 May 2010, including mining rights, is used. All post 1 May 2010 capital expenditure will be added to the starting base.”
In the case where the mining company opts to use a market value approach I take it to mean the depreciation takes place before the MRRT is calculated. This means the formula is:
MRRT = 30% x (75% x Earnings – Price(2010)/25)
Currently the mining industry average for P/E (price to earnings ratio) is 14, though in the case of BHP-Billiton it is 19. For an average miner then Price(2010)/25 = Earnings x 14/25 = 56% Earnings so the actual MRRT is based on 19% of Earnings. However the Price is fixed at the May 1 2010 value so this will not increase over time even though earnings will. Should earnings continue to rise at the dramatic rate we have seen in the past decade then the MRRT will eventually look more like the 22.5% base rate.
It appears that the Govt and the mining industry’s compromise is to push the revenue from the tax windfall out from today to later years. In a sense the mining industry has also removed the contentious “retrospectivity” of the tax by using the current high price and choice of 25 years depreciation to ensure the current value of the MRRT is minimised but will rise at 22.5% of increased earnings going forward.
Thanks to an observant reader who pointed out my error. Mea culpa.
Possibly Related Posts (automatically generated):
- RSPT – A Fair Valuation Based on True Value of New and Existing Mines (12 June 2010)
- Petrol Price Update (21 October 2009)
- The Australian Resources Tax (14 May 2010)
- Couch Potatoes (8 October 2008)