In an effort to curb alleged tax avoidance, the Australian government has revealed a plan to require major multinational corporations in the country to disclose their tax arrangements.
Under the proposed measures, companies with annual revenues above A$100m will be required to published their tax details.
“The government intends to improve transparency around how much tax large enterprises are paying,” says the government’s assistant treasurer David Bradbury announced. “This should not be a guessing game.We want to make sure that large MNCs are paying their fair share.”
Bradbury notes that the increasingly borderless global economy means big firms often have no tax liability in a country, even with a major local presence.
Australia's corporate tax rate is 30%, compared with 12.5% in Ireland. MNCs operating in Australia, including the local arm of Google, have been accused of shifting income to other countries to benefit from a lower rate. Apple has also come under parliamentary scrutiny over local pricing structures, which mean consumers can pay more for downloading software than in some other countries.
The proposed measures would affect about 2,000 large and multinational businesses, including miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. The latter is one of a number of companies that have already voluntarily begun publishing their tax details, expanding on information in existing financial statements.