Tax avoidance reforms target big end of town

The government says it will raise $3.7 billion from tough budget reforms targeting tax-avoiding multinational companies and has introduced increased protections for whistleblowers.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will get government funding to the tune of $67 million over four years for a new Tax Avoidance Taskforce.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said this will “strengthen efforts to ensure that multinational companies, private companies and high wealth individuals pay the right amount of tax. The Taskforce shall be a single, targeted program accountable to government”.

At the same time, the government will introduce new whistleblower protections for people who disclose information about tax misconduct to the ATO.


A Tax Transparency Code will also be introduced to encourage greater tax transparency within the corporate sector.

The Taskforce will have around 1,300 jobs in the ATO, including 390 new specialised officers.

According to the government, the taskforce is expected to raise $3.7 billion in tax liabilities between now and July 2020.

The government said the taskforce will work closely with its partner agencies, including the Australian Crime Commission, the AFP and AUSTRAC. New legislation will be introduced, allowing the ATO to improve information sharing and analysis with ASIC which will lead to a more efficient approach to dealing with tax crime.

A Diverted Profits Tax (DPT) to prevent multinationals from shifting profits earned in Australia offshore to avoid paying tax will be introduced.

The government said this will prevent multinationals from exploiting cross-country tax differences to defer or avoid paying tax and will align transfer pricing rules with the latest international guidelines.

The government has released a consultation paper detailing the key design features of the DPT and has invited all interested parties to make a submission on the design by Friday 17 June 2016.

“Everyone has to pay their fair share of tax, especially large corporates and multinationals, on what they earn here in Australia,” Mr Morrison said.

“Last December, despite opposition, we secured the passage of world-leading multinational tax avoidance laws. The new powers and penalties in these laws are now in place and supporting the Australian Taxation Office to ensure multinationals pay tax on what they earn in Australia. However, we need to do more.”

Tax avoidance reforms target big end of town
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