Author: Michael West

eBay Scores Own-Goal on Tax

It is an “own-goal” of epic proportions. Ebay Australia has managed to arouse the interest of the Tax Office by suing a former employee and consequently allowing compromising court documents to seep into the public domain. Ebay quietly settled the case against a former sales manager Glen Gaunt and his since estranged wife Dana Joab, an eBay contractor, in early June. eBay base laid bare in court case The damage, however, has been done. It is understood the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has made inquiries into the tax affairs of eBay Australia and New Zealand. The company responded in...

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It’s a gas! Australian gas is a bargain … if you’re Japanese

In Japan, they pay a lot less for Australian gas than we do in Australia. Last month, the spot price in Japan was $US4.27 per gigajoule whereas the average spot price paid in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide in June was $US6.87/GJ. Australian consumers paid, on average, 60 per cent more for gas produced in Australia than did our customers in Japan. This is even more bizarre when you consider that, before the gas is shipped six thousand kilometres to Japan at a cost of $US0.75GJ, it first has to be liquefied at an LNG plant at a cost of...

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Corporate Tax Avoidance: Rozvany’s Solution

Blithely disavowing the reality of an annual trillion-dollar global tax racket, and the fact they are right in the thick of it, accounting giant EY published a note to clients last year: “A New Mountain to Climb – tax reputation risk, growing transparency demands and the importance of data readiness”. The report, further evidence the Big Four accounting firms reside in a parallel universe to the rest of us, failed to recognize tax avoidance as a problem at all, only that their beleaguered multinational clients were being increasingly skewered by “aggressive news coverage”. The game was now all about...

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Oligarchs of the Treasure Islands

The “Big Four” global accounting firms – PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young – are the masterminds of multinational tax avoidance, the architects of tax schemes which cost governments and their taxpayers more than $US1 trillion a year. Although presenting as “the guardians of commerce” they are unregulated and unaccountable; they have infiltrated governments at every level and should be broken up. This is the view of George Rozvany, Australia’s most published expert on transfer pricing, which is one of the principal ways large corporations pursue cross-border tax avoidance. Rozvany stepped down last year as head of tax...

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