Responding to today’s announcement that a Labor Government would tighten loopholes exploited by multinational companies to avoid paying tax, Oxfam Australia’s tax policy advisor Joy Kyriacou said:
“Tightening a range of tax loopholes would be a very welcome move.
“Today’s policy announcement by Federal Labor would see loopholes closed across a range of important areas, including ‘debt loading’ by companies to artificially reduce their profits.
“Oxfam also welcomes proposals to lower the threshold for public tax transparency and appoint a community sector representative to the Board of Taxation.
“The latest statistics show that one in three companies reported on by the Australian Tax Office paid no tax in Australia in 2015.
“Oxfam estimates that tax dodging by Australian-based multinationals costs the budget bottom line up to $6 billion annually. It is time to further crack down on these unfair tax tricks.
“At the same time, developing countries are missing out on an estimated $3 billion (AUD) of tax revenue each year because of the tax dodging practices of multinationals based in Australia.
“This is money that could be used to tackle extreme inequality, including by funding essential services such as schools, hospitals and public infrastructure, as well as tackling poverty overseas.
“Labor’s proposed measures will go far to assist in clamping down on tax avoidance within Australia. To help bring an end to this problem globally, policies need to go further.
“Oxfam is calling on all parties to support the introduction of public country-by-country reporting of tax affairs for all big businesses
“To effectively tackle tax dodging, the Government needs to look beyond our borders.
“Big companies operating from Australia should be required to be transparent and publicly report on their profits, taxes and assets for every country in which they operate, so it’s harder for them to shift profits and dodge paying their fair share.
“This kind of legislation already exists in UK, Canada and the European Union – and it is time for Australia to follow suit.
“This would be good for Australia, as well as helping to stop large companies from ripping profits and taxes out of some of the poorest countries in the world.”
“Less than a week from the Federal Budget, Oxfam is looking to this Government for comprehensive action to tackle tax dodging and make big companies pay their fair share in Australia and around the world.”
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