FEWER ADS, MORE ACTION
At the end of the financial year, Australians are being barraged with ads on TV and radio, in print and online touting the Turnbull Government’s supposed success in cracking down on multinational tax dodging.
What these advertisements don’t say is that the Turnbull Government is currently refusing to back sensible Labor proposals that would close multinational tax loopholes and add billions of dollars to the government’s bottom line.
- Tighten debt-deduction loopholes used by multinational companies, improving the Budget by $4.6 billion over the decade.
- Remove tax advantages and inconsistencies between Multiple Entry Consolidated Groups (consisting of Australian-resident entities that share a common ultimate foreign owner) and Australian-owned ordinary consolidated groups.
- Deliver more tax transparency by restoring Labor’s $100 million threshold for public reporting of tax data for private companies. This threshold was raised to $200 million in another deal with the Liberals and the Greens political party.
- Appoint a community sector representative to the Board of Taxation to ensure community sector voices are heard in tax design and review processes.
- Public reporting of country-by-country reports. High-level tax information about where and how much tax was paid by large corporations (over $1 billion in global revenue) will be released publicly.
- Whistleblower protection and rewards. Provide protection for whistleblowers who report on entities evading tax to the Australian Taxation Office. Where whistleblowers’ information results in more tax being paid, allow them to collect a share of the tax penalty (a reward of up to $250,000).
- Mandatory shareholder reporting of tax haven exposure. Companies must disclose to shareholders as a ‘Material Tax Risk’ if the company is doing business in a tax haven.
- Public reporting of Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) data. Require the annual public release of international cash flow data.
- Government tenderers must disclose their country of tax domicile. All firms tendering for Australian Government contracts worth more than $200,000 must state their country of domicile for tax purposes.
- Develop guidelines for tax haven investment by superannuation funds. The Australian Tax Office (in collaboration with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) will develop guidelines for responsible investment by superannuation funds.
- Publicly accessible registry of the beneficial ownership of Australian listed companies. This will allow everyone to find out who really owns our firms. Shareholders should not be able to use complex structures and sham ownership to avoid complying with corporate transparency rules.
- Australian Taxation Office disclosure of settlements and reporting of aggressive tax minimisation. Require that the Australian Taxation Office’s annual report provide information on the number and size of tax settlements.
Rather than wasting millions of dollars on taxpayer funded ads, the Turnbull Government needs to take up Labor’s plans, which would add billions of dollars to the budget bottom line.
The Turnbull Government want Australians to think that they’re tough on multinationals. But unless they close the loopholes – particularly on debt deductions – their actions are more show than substance.
FRIDAY, 30 JUNE 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: STEPHANIE ANDERSON 0431 344 056