Deal involves no admission of liability, after allegations the company tried to show lower profits in Australia

Aged care provider and health insurer Bupa has paid the Australian tax office $157m after settling a long-running dispute.

Bupa Australia said the settlement brought an end to a more than decade-long dispute with the ATO over a “number of different matters”, included transfer pricing issues with acquisitions in Australia in 2007 and 2008.

“We are pleased to reach this in-principle agreement,” Bupa said in a statement. “Importantly, the settlement will provide clarity for Bupa Australia and the ATO in relation to how taxes will be assessed in the future.”

The Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research, which campaigns on tax avoidance and minimisation, welcomed the settlement as a “positive first step”. But principal analyst Jason Ward said Bupa wasn’t the only major for-profit aged care provider that required scrutiny.

“There is a complete lack of accountability for companies that are getting hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds – other taxpayers’ money – to care for Australia’s elderly,” Ward said. “As recommended by the recent Senate Inquiry, this is an issue that must be addressed by the current royal commission into aged care.