Multinational tax dodgers targeted

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Joe Hockey is pushing for the Federal Government to close loopholes which are being exploited by multinational companies to shift profits offshore, in orde to minimise these companies’ tax bills. Mr Hockey has suggested that the first target will be multinationals which load up debt in parts of their business located in high tax jurisdictions such as Australia. Proposed changes are expected to be legislated later this month, as it is expected that the opposition and the majority of all crossbench senators will give these changes their support.

Since 2002, Apple has paid just $193 million to the ATO, while an estimated $9 billion was shifted off-shore to minimise taxation. Google brought in more than $2 billion in revenue from Australian ad sales last year, but this money goes directly through its Singapore branch and no tax is collected or paid. Australia’s largest coalmining company, Glencore has paid almost no tax over the past three years despite income of more than $15 billion.

Mr Hockey is confident that the move to legislate against multinational companies avoiding paying tax in Australia will see $2 billion returned to the government over the next four years.

Read more from The Age.

Read more about Google.

Read more about Apple.


Opinion: We must all pitch in

Whether it is a company pillaging our land for resources or a company employing hundreds of our best and brightest researchers and exploiting our generous research grants, every company, whether local or multinational, should be made to pay their way.

For far too long, our Federal Government has sat back and watched companies such as Apple, Google and Glencore (there are many more which could be added to this list) funnel money earned in Australia out of the country without paying a fair amount of tax. Each of these companies does employ a significant number of taxpaying Australians, but the tax on profits made in our region which isn’t being paid is leaving a serious hole in our budget, a hole which has to be filled by average Australian taxpayers.

It’s quite simple. If you want to sell your product or operate in Australia, then pay your way. The Federal Government should be willing to go the extra step in and prevent a company which evades paying taxes from operating in our country altogether.

What do you think? Is this a step in the right direction for the Federal Government? Should the Federal Government threaten to ban companies, which continue to evade tax, from operating in our country? Or do we need their business?

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Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).


Total Comments: 63
  1. 0

    I reckon they should get back tax…there will be so much it will cover the deficit and put us in surplus for years to come…that’s how much these companies have stolen from Australia

    • 0

      But – it goes without saying that – this measure will be going back many years!?
      It is was you or me it certainly would!

    • 0

      It won’t be retrospective Patriot. That is a dangerous precedent and will not happen. My hope is that what does happen is not a propaganda campaign against even this disreputable government as occurred with the mining tax when Labor was in. But then perhaps this would be a just punishment for this government which has behaved so badly. Imagine Abbott complaining about unfair treatment… brings a smile to my face.

  2. 0

    I want to see,pollies chip in more, big business chip in more , government to stop sending money overseas to corrupt regimes in the form of aid , High income earners to chip in more and make Gina pay more…but leave the pensioners alone!!!

    • 0

      All the above has been done .

    • 0

      Give all Politicians a Substantial Pay Rise..
      Before the Poor Barsteds Starve To Death !!..

    • 0

      Pete: your comment defies logic.

      1. High income earners have a 2 year only deficit tax. At the same time they also have a 1.5% company tax reduction (they all own companies in their financial affairs) so they have a wonderful deal whilst average Australians are footing the bill.
      2. Overseas Aid is being trimmed but there is no discrimination between genuine ‘Aid’ and gift to the rich and/or military use of Australian Aid money.
      3. Gina…..come on guys, Gina has creative accountants, lawyers and I dare say overseas tax shelters as well. Don’t think that Gina is going to pay.
      4. Pensioners – they’re fair game because they cannot defend themselves as they refuse to unite and/or join a union and/or start a lobby group using their high voting power to change their political outcomes.
      So how has “all of the above been done”?

    • 0

      We are so busy squeezing the life out of our small business operators in Australia while big multinationals are paying their taxes in Ireland. Canada does ok by keeping company tax at a lower rate than USA. For the most part the global tax havens have been closed. I applaud Joe Hockey for his work in this area. However, he could go further and drop taxes on earnings in favour of increased consumption tax.

  3. 0

    This has been a problem for years. Simplify the tax system so that everyone pays their fair share of tax. NO EXEMPTIONS. Make mining companey’s that are producing and making profits pay fuel tax not tax free as I understand it is at the moment

    • 0

      I believe that fair system you talk about is know as “GST”. No escape for the rich and big business UNLESS governments allow loopholes, which they should not.
      And I agree with fuel tax exemptions. A rort as this is a tax deduction and should NEVER be a subsidy.

  4. 0

    Well – they should pay their fair share of tax if they wish to operate here. It astounds me that often tax concessions are allowed on loans from parent company or similar in both Australia and back ‘home’. Sounds like a double bite to me… good work if you can get it. I’ve long advocated that loans etc between ‘sibling’ or within ‘family’ companies – i.e. those that have a direct link between them — should be treated as a loan to self – i.e. not a tax deduction.

    • 0

      I also have long advocated a ‘cash entry tax’ on investment etc – which, for the gainsayers, I seriously doubt will reduce ‘investment’. Profit hunters will still want to invest here, but I also was taken last night (I think) by a government minister commenting that Australian investors are not adding much to the mix (or similar). I rarely see opportunities being offered to them to do so – all I see is Clivagina Diggings etc negotiating with some Indian with billions built on crass exploitation of his people over there.

      I think there is definitely room for a solid Australian company/organisation to invest in resources here, thus keeping the cash at home.

      Also simplify the tax system – cut out all the redundant taxes like fuel excise (a de facto GST anyway) and either have a single tax such as a GST that covers all (plus a graduated income tax regime), or chop the GST etc and find a new tax. Some suggest a transactions tax is the best and covers all, including businesses.

    • 0

      We all want a fair tax system but don’t expect Australian big business or any government to show any leadership or entrepreneurial skills. That is why we can rarely compete on the world stage. We have brain dead leaders and big business so all that we can successfully do is dig holes. Sounds to me like we have a bunch of neanderthals running the show. So what future do we really have whilst nothing changes decade in and decade out?

  5. 0

    Savo, the exemption given to primary industry and those who work in the industry, as well as mining companies, is only for the portion that is not on roads as this was a road tax, solely for the betterment of our road network. Fishing fleets do not pay fuel ax as they do not use the roads to fish in.
    These and ither industries do actually pay the tax up front, but claim back when their BAS is done.
    I do agree that every individual and entity should pay the tax due on their/it’s earnings, no exemptions.

  6. 0

    It will be interesting to see just how forceful this government will be on this our whether it will be just a token thing.

    I think that if these companies have been rortingthis way then ATO should be able to go back as long as it needs to recover tax. After all ifyou are a pensioner and have been overpaid then centrelink will recover it however far back you have been.

    • 0

      I’ll vote for token gesture with a veritable firestorm of rhetoric.

      Well I recall the statement from a A Man Named Vanstone on o
      ‘overpaid’ pensioners – they can just sell their homes to pay their Centrelink bill!

      That is but one reason I totally reject any word from her mouth such as the Ideas of March commission of idiots. The woman is a petty fascist and a fool with not one human aspect to her (as are many such) – and we pay her handsomely every day.

      No pension until pension age for politicians and then means-tested; no handouts of ‘board’ positions on ‘privatised utilities’ etc, and no more handouts of soft jobs as the ambassador to somewhere nice.

  7. 0

    I hope rupert murdoch and news corp are also targeted as the ATO repaid them $800 million out of his total tax bill last year. But since the ‘dirty digger’s’ oz papers backed Abbott and the Libs at the last election we shouldn’t hold our breath…..

    • 0

      In plain sight in the posts here and elsewhere – are the plain truths for any politician as to why the people are now so angry. The rorts, cronyism, lies, and petty tyrannies of the poor etc just keep on coming…

    • 0

      I want some of what you all are smoking, no politician of any party is going to voluntarily agree to these ideas. Corruption is a mean beast, takes no prisoners. Look into Hockey’s Queensland cattle farm, as a coincidence, live cattle shipments are about to start again.Uses Australian land to grow product then ships all produce off-shore to be sold (no Australian jobs or profit again). How often do you see this? Do you honestly think you can change outcomes when you have no power of veto over the people who are making these dishonest decisions?

    • 0

      The thing that western economies all have in common is that government and big business run the show. It is no different in any other nation and the ballot box is simply a matter of the faces, not the ultimate fate of the nation. The only way to beat the outcome is to vote for a whole pile of Independents who will shake up the game and destabilise the bastards who always get into the parliament. It matters not whether it be Liberal or Labor in charge as they are getting paid…so they play the game and disrespect us all.

    • 0

      The trouble is that they are in for 3 years and no matter what they do you have to cop it. You can yell, jump up & down, threaten, march in protest but in the end they lie to your face. For the general population it is impossible to expel ministers no matter what, as shown by the lies of two of our prime ministers. Once your in power you can do anything even extend their tenure to 4, 5, years then retire on a big fat salary and laugh at the silly PAYE workers.

    • 0

      Remember when Kerry Packer was charged $6 in Tax and took it to the high court and won. Money Talks with this government, it is government of the rich by the rich for the rich. They won’t do this. The pensioner, the disabled and the public health systems are such easy targets. And while they are at it, they ttakemoney away from the under 30’s so that they will turn to crime. The poor hit yet again under True Liberal philosophy!

  8. 0

    The ATO should get HOGES again…….lol

  9. 0

    Don’t forget big business are friends of government (all colors) because this is where they get their campaign funds (read bribes) from.

    To see this at work look no further than than the ICAC investigation into political corruption. The filth stretches from Federal parliament, to state parliaments, to local councils. And we are talking countless millions of dollars.

    A number of Queensland mayors have been caught up in this scandal, but brush it aside as if it is their just entitlement. One Mayor had over a million dollars sitting in a slush fund supplied by big business.

    But here is the galling part. ICAC claim that do not have the power to carry out prosecutions. They say the information from their investigations will be handed to the state governments and they are responsible for taking action.

    That must be the joke of the century. Can you imagine any government prosecuting politicians of any persuasion, either past or present , because they have been found to be corrupt. Pigs might fly but i haven’t seen any so far.

    So don’t place too much faith in Joe Hockey’s blather about getting big business to pay their fair share of taxes. Won”t ever happen.

    • 0

      Its a perverse relationship and certainly not at arm’s length. personally the ICAC needs to look at this and perhaps the talk about removing election funding by big business may be a start.
      The thing about Hockey’s current rant is that he is after overseas business, NOT AUSTRALIAN OWNED BUSINESS which he would not entertain. If you think not then listen to his comments about the Commonwealth Bank scandal…..disapproving but refusing to back a Royal Commission….because he knows what will come out of such an investigation.

    • 0

      mick it is impossible to remove election funding from big business and big unions. If you put a credit card in an ATM what happens to the money? At least now we know half of what is happening. Better than not knowing anything.

  10. 0

    At last! As long as it is just not lip service. We will wait and see.

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