Govt may force tax info transparency on tech giants

The Federal government is exploring ways to stop multinationals such as Google from using tricky tax avoidance methods in Australia, including forcing large organisations to make their tax information publicly available.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

Technology juggernauts with operations in Australia may be forced to make their tax information publicly available as the Federal government cracks down on tax-dodging multinationals.

Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury had previously come out swinging as he aimed at big firms such as Google, accusing them of using sophisticated tax dodging methods to avoid paying more taxes in Australia.

But the methods used by these large organisations are perfectly legal, according to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Bradbury has now vowed to improve the transparency of Australia's business tax system to help stem the tax avoidance tactics of multinationals. One suggestion is to change the tax information disclosure rules in Australia to determine which federal taxes should be disclosed and how tax details should be made publically available.

All of this will be explored by the Treasury, which will be in consultation with the special taskforce established last year. A meeting will be held later this month.

"Large multinational companies that use complex arrangements and contrived corporate structures to avoid paying their fair share of tax should not be able to hide behind a veil of secrecy," he said in a statement.

Bradbury stressed that the Federal government does not intend to force individuals or small businesses to disclose their tax information.

The Government is also looking to ease the tax information flow between the ATO and corporate regulators, such as the Foreign Investment Board and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

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