Big business tax dodging unstoppable

Australian Treasury officials have admitted that they have little power to stop large multinational companies, such as Google and Apple, from dodging tax.

Google’s Australian operation is a prime example of Australian laws having no power to stop tax dodging in big business, with Google paying just $74,000 in tax during 2011. During this time Google turned over an estimated $2 billion in revenue from Australian advertisements on its network. Not surprisingly, all but one of Australia’s top 20 companies listed on the stock exchange has subsidiaries in tax-free or low-tax jurisdictions.

The Government passed measures last month which will allow the Tax Commissioner to publish taxation information for any of the 2000 companies which earn over $100 million per annum. This is an attempt to shine a light on the practices, at the top end of business, which pose ‘significant risk’ to Australia’s tax system.

At the G20 meeting on the weekend in Moscow, the OECD’s 15-point plan to fix loopholes in the international tax system was endorsed by all 20 finance ministers in attendance. So, this should result a tightening of rules in the coming years.

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Opinion: Australian tax payers the big losers

Big business has for decades been dodging tax by utilising loopholes in international taxation laws, and tax payers need to take a stand.

Tax evasion techniques employed by the largest multinational businesses are pulling billions of dollars out of the Australian economy every year, with the money being sent overseas. This not only has a deep and lasting effect on the progress of our nation, it also adversely affects the services which our government provides, infrastructure projects and even the employment rate.

Unfortunately, as the measures passed by the Government were in relation to income made during the 2013/14 tax year, we will have to wait at least a full year for the Tax Commissioner to release any information on companies generating over $100 million.

I’m amazed at how little uproar there is in the media and general public over tax dodging. When household names such as Telstra or Bonds dumped jobs to take operations off-shore in the past couple of years, the uproar was widespread, yet the implications of those moves pale into insignificance compared with the taxes big business avoid paying.

Will you boycott brands such as Google or Apple because of their tax dodging activities?