Transparency is critical when it comes to tackling multinational profit shifting. That's why I've announced we'll bring forward plans to have the Australian Tax Office release more data about how much tax companies pay, and do it sooner. Here's the details:
BETTER TAX TRANSPARENCY UNDER LABOR
Labor will introduce a Private Member’s Bill to give Australians access to more information than ever before about the tax affairs of major corporations.
If enacted, this bill will bring forward the release of data about the tax paid by companies with total income over $100 million.
For each of these companies, the Australian Tax Office will publish their taxable income, total income and tax paid.
Under new transparency rules introduced last year by Labor, the Australian Tax Office is required to start publishing this data from the 2013–14 financial year.
But with late returns and auditing delays, this information will not actually become available until sometime in 2015.
In January, the Abbott Government has threatened to scrap it entirely, with former Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos telling the Australian Financial Review: ‘We don’t want to get into a situation where we’re putting more and more information out there.’
Since coming to office, the Abbott Government has given $1.1 billion of tax breaks back to multinationals, while raising taxes and cutting family payments for low and middle income households.
And yet whenever tax estimates are published in the public domain, the Abbott Government and its backers claim that they don’t capture the whole picture.
With so much recent speculation and concern about how much tax big companies really pay, there is a clear need for some hard numbers to better inform the public debate.
At present, there is simply no way to find out how much tax private companies pay, or easily compare the reporting of publicly-listed ones.
We need an evidence-based debate on multinational profit-shifting, and we need it now.
The choice for the Abbott Government is clear – if it wants tax transparency and an informed debate, it will support Labor’s bill.
THURSDAY, 30 OCTOBER 2014