Coles is suing the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) over $40 million in fuel taxes, seeking to resolve a two-year dispute.
The supermarket has applied to the Federal Court in Victoria over fuel excise tax it paid on over 100 million litres of fuel between 2014 and 2017, the SMH reports.
Coles is arguing because it never sold the fuel it should be eligible for fuel tax credits of about $40 million, laying its claim out over five Court applications filed last month.
“Coles is seeking clarification from the Court as to whether it has overpaid fuel excise in the past, in particular in relation to fuel volumes that have been subject to leakage and evaporation,” a spokesperson said in a statement provided to SmartCompany on Monday morning.
The move comes as Coles prepares to separate from parent company Wesfarmers later this month, with an expected value that will make it one of the biggest companies on the ASX.
The $20 billion demerger proposal was given Court approval last month.
An initial hearing on the case is set for December 14, with Coles set to save millions if it is successful.
It comes as the ATO cracks down on large businesses seeking to avoid paying tax, amid public scrutiny over the tax bills of listed companies.
Company tax collection increased by $16.1 billion in 2017-18, the ATO’s annual report published last week shows, which was $6.7 billion ahead of expectation.
Overall, the ATO lost $2.3 billion through tax disputes in 2017-18, as the result of over 673 cases.
The ATO’s final settled position was $1.06 billion — 31% below its initial position.
It was also revealed small businesses owe $12 billion to the tax office, with 173 SMEs successfully lowering their tax bills through disputes.