By Janine Perrett

Full credit, and not tax ones, to Gina Rinehart.

Those are words you wouldn't expect me to say.

I have been a staunch critic of the West Australian iron ore heir over the years for numerous reasons but in one critical area she deserves to be commended not condemned.

And that is over her new title as Australia's biggest private taxpayer.

I find that a far more impressive title than our richest woman.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) yesterday released details of the tax paid by our largest private companies and top of the list was Ms Rineharts' Hancock Prospecting.

For the 2013-14 ear she paid almost $300 million on a $1.5 billion taxable income. 

This equated to a 30% tax rate.

So what, you might ask? That is the official company tax rate so what is so great about her paying the correct amount.

Well for a start she was not just the top private taxpayer she actually paid one quarter of all big private companies' tax bill.

Let me repeat that - Gina Rinehart's tax bill represented one quarter of all the tax paid by the top 321 companies.

The fact she even reported $1.5 billion in taxable income is incredible.

Most of the other companies managed to avoid that little detail.

Again let me point out that of those 321 private companies, (including such household names as Pratt, Triguboff, Fox and the billionaires from the disgraceful 7-11 group), the combined turnover was $145 billion. 

Of these, 223 reported profits and paid a combined $2 billion in tax.

There were 98 companies, nearly one third that paid no tax at all.

Less than half, 144, companies paid 30 percent of their taxable income in tax but it was obviously a tiny amount of actual income on which they paid.

Of course there are the usual disclaimers from the ATO that just because a company paid minimal or no tax does not mean that they are deliberately avoiding tax or doing anything illegal.

However it did note that a large percentage of these companies have since been subject to audit and some have been hit with additional bills.

But the glaring takeout from this list, like last year's similar list of multinational taxpayers, the richest companies and individuals are routinely structuring their tax affairs to pay way below that of the ordinary Australian taxpayer.

So once again, explain to me why this Government is even thinking of lowering corporate tax rates rather than giving any personal income tax relief at the next election?