Malcolm Turnbull’s Government had the opportunity today to let tax authorities see inside the bank accounts of big companies sooner. Surprise, surprise – they blocked it.
The Common Reporting Standard is a hugely important weapon in the global fight against tax dodging, and one that has been several years in the making through the OECD.
For the first time ever, tax authorities will automatically exchange information about the contents of company and individual bank accounts held overseas.
When the Government introduced its bill to give effect to this measure in Australia, it set the deadline for disclosure of company accounts way off in the distance in 2019.
That puts Australia two years behind more than 40 countries which will begin exchanging this information from 2017.
Today Labor moved an amendment to bring the deadline forward, in line with the proposed reporting timetable for high net-worth individuals.
The Government said no. No explanation given; just plain no.
Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison want Australians to believe that they are deeply concerned about ensuring big corporations pay their fair share. But every time they have the chance to actually do something concrete about it, they choose to prevaricate, block and delay.
Labor will continue to push for earlier reporting of company accounts when the Common Reporting Standard Bill comes before the Senate.
We have also flagged that we will be talking with our Senate colleagues about further amendments to increase the public transparency of the data provided under the standard.
There is only one party in this Parliament which consistently stands on the side of transparency and accountability to ensure big companies pay their fair share: Labor.
MONDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: JENNIFER RAYNER 0428 214 856