Australian workers will have to shoulder a greater share of the nation’s tax burden in coming years as corporate tax payments are tipped to languish. That was one key take-out from the Budget this week. What’s the scam?
Too many corporate tax scams, that’s the scam. Take Lendlease for instance.
Lendlease double-claimed $1bn of tax deductions in its retirement village business, thereby fleecing the Australian public to the tune of $300m.
The Tax Office is onto it but – thanks to pestering from Lendlease auditor KPMG and its corporate allies such as PwC, EY, and the Law Council of Australia, the ATO has been dithering over its draft ruling which outlaws Lendlease’s double-dipping scam.
We contacted the ATO recently and they confirmed it has not changed its view on its draft ruling. No double-dipping. Lendlease former boos Steve McCann is off to Crown Resorts and Tony Lombardo has taken the top job. It’s a strange move, possibly reckless.
Assuming the ATO doesn’t cave – and does confirm its draft ruling – it’s a fair call that Lombardo may be dead man walking. He was CFO when the scam kicked off and Lendlease may have to restate six years of accounts.
It will also mean that Aware Super and APG, who bought into the villages, will have acquired some serious tax bills.