Multinational tax avoidance – Labor’s crackdown distinguishes itself from Corporate Liberals

Bill Shorten is so clever.

This week he has summoned his mates at the ABC to provide a national announcement from the Labor Party that it will crack down on multinationals if elected.

Bill:   “A future Labor government will crack down on multinational companies to make sure they pay their fair share of tax.”

Bill reckons that if the Liberal’s Treasurer Joe Hockey won’t crack down, he can and so build a distinguishable wedge between Lib and Lab with voters.

Oddly, multinational tax evasion didn’t happen under Labor’s six years of Rudd-Gillard-Rudd.

Why?  Bill was part of the Rudd spending team and corporate donation commitments matter.  But it could have paid for all the school halls, pink batts and foreign gifting of billions to Indonesia, Afghanistan and Gillard’s Pacific Island women’s coven.

Bill Shorten

Bill’s shadow treasurer Chris Bowen wants to tighten the so-called “thin capitalisation” rules, which allow companies to offset profits against debt servicing costs in high tax jurisdictions such as Australia to reduce their taxable income.

Coincidentally, Labor’s media release comes the very day the Australian Tax Office (ATO) announces it is cracking down on multinational tax cheats. Labor’s ABC didn’t mention this – (need to know basis).

ATO’s Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan, same day announced that the ATO is to lead a new worldwide taskforce to crackdown on multinational tax cheats in a move it claims will yield billions of dollars in globally ­unpaid tax.  Among the targets of the ­intelligence network across 30 countries will be digital giants and internet companies.

The ATO has so far also ­recouped $342 million in unpaid tax from 1900 offshore ­accounts held by Australians and $215 million from multinationals.

Multinational targets evading their fair share of Australia tax include:

  • Apple
  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Amazon
  • SABMiller
  • AMP
  • Macquarie Group
  • Lend Lease
  • James Hardie

Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan said that in Australia alone it expected to raise more than $1.1 billion in unpaid tax with 41 audits underway, including 12 into tech companies.

“This is a global effort. The ATO is leading it … we developed the prototype.”

The network would begin operating under an existing body called the Joint International Tax Shelter Information Centre.

Perhaps Chris Bowen was jealous.  Bill Shorten just needed media attention.

Chris Bowen

Who cares about tax brackets?