Labor will continue to shine light on the dark corners of multinational tax. Making multinationals pay their fair share has always been a Labor agenda. In government, we closed loopholes and improved transparency, over the repeated objections of the Liberals.
From Opposition, we have led the debate, releasing strong policies to reduce excessive debt-loading and properly resource the tax office. The Government is still welcome to adopt our $7.2 billion package.
If elected to Government, Labor will introduce an additional comprehensive suite of new measures to increase transparency on the tax affairs of multinational corporations.
In Government, Labor will:
- Increase penalties for non-compliance with country-by-country reporting:
It is simply wrong that the current penalty for failing to file country-by-country reports is a mere $5400 – less than you get for streaking across the SCG. Labor will increase that penalty 50 times. Should a company continue non-compliance after the maximum fine is reached, the Commissioner of Taxation is empowered to conduct a broad review of the company’s tax affairs.
- Restore the $100 million threshold for reporting the tax affairs of large private firms bringing them back in line with public companies:
Labor’s original threshold was watered-down in a dirty deal between the Coalition and the Greens last year, with 600 companies being shielded from public scrutiny as a result.
- Obligation to disclose the beneficial ownership for Australian legal identities:
Labor will ensure that the G20 principles Australia committed to at the G20 summit in Brisbane in 2014, which are based on guidance from the Financial Action Task Force, are implemented fully and quickly to ensure that Australia cannot be used as a destination for money-laundering, tax evasion, terrorism financing or other criminal behaviour.
This will be achieved by establishing a publicly accessible central registry of the beneficial ownership of companies, trusts and other corporate structures.
The Coalition – which voted against every multinational tax avoidance reform Labor introduced in government - refuses to take this issue seriously. The occasional measures they announce are ad hoc and only in response to the pressure applied by Labor and public outcry.
The government’s refusal to ensure companies and individuals pay their fair share of tax demonstrates once again that it has forgotten small business and ordinary people.
When large corporations and wealthy individuals use loopholes in our tax laws and secret tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of tax in Australia, all Australians suffer through higher taxes or poorer government infrastructure and services.
As Australia’s Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan told the Senate Estimates Committee “(O)ur Australian tax system is under fire from the actions of multinationals and large companies seeking to abuse it.”
Now Australians know that if you want a party that gets tough on multinationals, vote Labor. If you want a party that gets tough on Medicare, vote Liberal.