30 October 2018

A Shorten Labor Government will tackle multinational tax dodgers to help pay for our priorities – better schools, better hospitals and protecting Medicare.

Labor will implement a number of measures targeting multinational tax avoidance and high wealth tax dodgers, saving the budget $4.8 billion over the next decade, including stopping companies claiming illegitimate deductions for travel to and from known tax havens.

Working Australians pay their taxes – it’s only fair that multinationals pay their fair share too.
Labor will also close a loophole that allows companies to deduct bad debt from related party financing arrangements.

These measures build on Labor’s existing plans to make the tax system fairer for all Australians.
Labor will make firms undertaking business in tax havens disclose that to shareholders and make significant tenderers disclose their country of tax domicile.

We will introduce public country-by-country reporting, work with superannuation funds to make sure they develop guidelines for tax haven investments and stop citizenship shopping by requiring Australians with foreign residency to report to the Tax Office.

Tax havens are used by drug-runners, extortionists and counterfeiters. Around four-fifths of the money shifted to tax havens is estimated to be in breach of other countries’ tax laws. Half the money in tax havens is estimated to be owned by the top 0.01 percent. One estimate suggests that Australians have around $100 billion parked in tax havens.
Australians know that when multinational tax dodgers and the super-rich don’t pay their fair share, we can’t fund our education and health systems properly.

While the Coalition is paralysed by infighting and indecision, Labor has made serious decisions to balance the budget, pay down debt and fund its positive policies for schools and hospitals.

Labor knows what needs to be done and will continue to lead the debate on multinational tax avoidance.
If the Coalition was serious about tax fairness, it would adopt Labor’s plan.

  • Tighten debt-deduction loopholes used by multinational companies, improving the Budget by $3 billion over the medium term.
  • Capping deductions for managing tax affairs at $3,000.
  • Close a debt deduction loophole to ensure consistent treatment in related party financing arrangements.
  • Automatically deny deductions from companies for travel to and from tax havens.
  • Increase penalties for individuals and entities promoting tax evasion and avoidance.
  • Crack down on citizenship shopping by requiring all individual Australian taxpayers to notify and declare to the Australian Taxation Office if they have residency or citizenship of any other jurisdiction and the name of that jurisdiction.
  • Introduce public reporting of country-by-country reports, ensuring the release of high-level tax information about where and how much tax was paid by large corporations (over $1 billion in global revenue).
  • Provide protection for whistleblowers who report on entities evading tax to the Australian Taxation Office and, where whistleblowers’ information results in more tax being paid, allow them to collect a share of the tax penalty (a reward of up to $250,000).
  • Introduce a publicly accessible registry of the beneficial ownership of Australian listed companies and trusts, allowing the public to find out who really owns our firms.
  • Introduce mandatory shareholder reporting of tax haven exposure, requiring companies to disclose to shareholders as a ‘Material Tax Risk’ if the company is doing business in a tax haven.
  • Appoint a community sector representative to the Board of Taxation to ensure community sector voices are heard in tax design and review processes.
  • Introduce public reporting of Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) data and require the annual public release of international cash flow data.
  • Require all firms tendering for Australian Government contracts worth more than $200,000 to state their country of domicile for tax purposes.
  • Develop guidelines for tax haven investment by superannuation funds.
  • Require that the Australian Taxation Office’s annual report provide information on the number and size of tax settlements.

Restore Labor’s $100 million threshold for public reporting of tax data for private companies, which was raised to $200 million by the Liberals and Greens in a move which exempted two-thirds of private firms from tax transparency.