All a bit complicated. News Corp, through its in-house newsletter The Australian, has confirmed that its tax affairs are so complex that it understands why the Australian Tax Office has it on the high-risk category for tax avoidance.

An article by Darren Davidson in this morning’s edition includes the rather amazing confession that News Corp’s tax is “complex”:

“News Corp Australia has explained its appearance on the Australian Taxation Office’s high classification list, saying the media company’s complex corporate structure after a demerger warranted close inspection.”

But it was only a partial confirmation, because you had to read a story on the same subject in this morning’s edition of the rival Australian Financial Review for context and greater detail.

In fact, the Fairfax papers have revealed that News Corp Australia was the only company on the highest level of the ATO’s tax-avoidance watch list. The AFR story by Neil Chenoweth quotes the key paragraph from News Corp’s chief financial officer Susan Panuccio’s letter about the company’s complexity that seems to be missing from the report in the Oz:

“We understand that the ‘high’ categorisation given to us denotes the complexity of the company and therefore the time and resources required to monitor the complex taxation issues.”

Chenoweth wrote that Panuccio had refused requests for more details on News Corp’s tax payments from 2005 to 2014. News Corp’s financial affairs are indeed complex, which seems to be a major reason for the inquiry by the Senate committee and the ATO placing it all alone on the top level of its watch list. — Glenn Dyer

Goodbye, Dave. Around 1.30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, comedian Bill Murray returns for his 44th and final appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, which has spanned 33 years and two networks. The first was Letterman’s first night as host of Late Night on NBC in February 1982. He was then the first guest on the Late Show on CBS in August 1993. The final show is tomorrow afternoon, our time (Wednesday night at 11.30) has a nice look at some of the highlights of Murray and Letterman and other guests, including a flashing, Cher calling Letterman an arsehole, and more.

Coincidentally, the most powerful TV executive in comedy is leaving CBS after nearly 25 years at the network, all of it involved in comedy. The network’s executive vice president Wendy Trilling is leaving when her contract expires at the end of next month. and other US blogs said she had decided not to renew it and could even leave TV altogether. She was responsible for some of the most iconic US comedies in the past two decades: Every Everybody Loves Raymond, How I Met Your Mother, The New Adventures of Old Christine, 2 Broke Girls, The King of Queens and Chuck Lorre’s Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly and Mom— Glenn Dyer

Video of the day. Stephen Mayne and News Corp’s Rowan Callick take on the ABC’s Virginia Trioli and former Fairfax business reporter Catherine Fox in the inaugural BlueNotes debate. The topic: can corporate journalism ever win a Walkley? (Mayne says no, but Trioli reckons if News Corp can do it …)

Front page of the day. We couldn’t resist the Tele today …

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey