While the standards-setter AASB continues its three year dither on disclosure, the Board of Taxation continues to be stacked with people linked to Big Four firms that advise on how to avoid paying tax.
The Big Four – Deloitte, KPMG, EY and PwC – continue to have the game sown up politically, winning unprecedented work from government as bureaucracy is outsourced ($2.5 billion in ten years in federal government work between them) while advising government on policy and advising multinationals on how to get around policy and tax laws.
“Yesterday, former KPMG chair and chief executive Michael Andrew was reappointed as the part-time chair of the Board of Taxation for a further two years,” says Accountants Daily.
KPMG partner Craig Yaxley and BDO partner Dr Mark Pizzacalla have also been reappointed as part-time board members for a further three-year period.
KPMG partner Rosheen Garnon has also been appointed as a new member of the board for a three-year period, following the departure of board member Peggy Lau Flux.
Meanwhile, the Australian Accounting Standards Board, which committed before the Senate to doing a report on the decline in audit standards (shift by multinationals to Special Purpose reporting from more detailed General Purpose reporting) is apparently still working on that report.
This from the Senate Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance in 2015:
Xenophon chimed in when the Australian Accounting Standards Board – the industry standard-setter – was giving testimony.
“I want to ask some questions about the financial reporting practices of online betting companies operating in Australia,” Xenophon asked.
“Are you able to shed some light as to why Ladbrokes prepares general purpose financial reports but the other three companies – that is, Sportsbet, William Hill and Bet365 – do not? They only prepare special purpose financial reports. Does that seem to you to be a strangely divergent accounting practice?”
AASB chair, Kris Peach, replied: “I could not comment on those particular instances. I have no personal knowledge of what their particular circumstances are.”
Xenophon pressed on: “So … the fact that Ladbrokes does prepare general financial reports but the others do not appears to be a divergent practice, given that on the face of it there is a fiduciary capacity.”
Peach responded: “That certainly sounds like there would be something to consider there, yes.”
The point of this exchange was the belated admission from the AASB that if these multinationals were holding millions on behalf of Aussie punters, they might do well to prepare proper accounts, not the skimpy special purpose variety, which enables them to hide things.