Despite trumpeting a newfound commitment to international banking transparency in today's papers, Joe Hockey is leaving Australia to lag behind other countries on tackling multinational tax avoidance. Here's my thoughts on what he needs to do ahead of this week's G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Cairns:
HOCKEY STILL HEDGING ON INTERNATIONAL BANK TRANSPARENCY
Treasurer Joe Hockey must clarify whether Australia is joining the Early Adopter Group of nations tackling multinational profit shifting, following news he has seen sense on signing Australia up to international bank transparency measures.
After months of stalling and pussy-footing, Mr Hockey has finally confirmed that Australia will implement the Common Reporting Standard on financial account information. The standard is an important measure for cracking down on international tax avoidance. It allows authorities to automatically exchange information about the contents of company and individual bank accounts held overseas.
Labor has repeatedly called for Australia to join a group of more than 40 Early Adopter nations which will start preparations to implement the standard in 2016.
That group includes key G20 members such as the United Kingdom, Argentina, France, Germany, India, Italy and Mexico, as well as many European Union member states.
Until now, Joe Hockey has been hedging and prevaricating about signing Australia up to this group. It remains unclear whether the 2017 timetable he has announced will match that of the Early Adopters, leading to confusion going into this week’s G20 Finance Ministers meetings.
The Treasurer must explain how his plans fit with the international effort to tackle tax avoidance. If Mr Hockey won’t lead from the front, Australia will continue to lag behind our global peers.
MONDAY, 15 SEPTEMBER 2014
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