TOO MUCH INFORMATION? COMPANIES LIST IS ALREADY ONLINE
Today’s release of the IbisWorld Top 500 Private Companies list shows the Government’s arguments against tax transparency are simply a fig leaf for shielding big firms from scrutiny.
Under Australia’s existing transparency laws, the tax office is required to publish information about the income and tax paid for companies earning over $100 million. The first report is due out by December this year.
The Government has a bill before Parliament to gut these laws by carving out private companies. They argue the transparency requirements expose too much information about these firms.
Yet the IbisWorld report freely lists the income of the very same companies these laws would apply to – including corporations like Hancock Prospecting, Visy Industries and 7-Eleven. It also lists details on the number of employees and how much revenue has risen or fallen by over the past year.
The key detail that is missing from the IbisWorld report is how much – or how little – tax these companies pay. This is the critical information Australians deserve to know.
Despite Joe Hockey’s big talk this week about tackling tax avoidance, the Government wants to keep Australians in the dark about whether these huge private firms are paying their fair share.
There are plenty of companies that do the right thing. But at a time when the Government is talking about hitting low-income Australians by jacking up the GST, it is right to look closely at whether all taxpayers are making a fair contribution.
Australia will have a new Treasurer on Monday. This is an opportunity for the Turnbull Government to admit gutting tax transparency is the wrong approach, and immediately drop the idea.
If it does not, it will be clear that Prime Minister Turnbull would rather continue protecting a handful of rich firms than stand up for Australia’s best interests.
FRIDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: JENNIFER RAYNER 0428 214 856