Taxing multinationals: no new laws needed, just execute the ones we have

by | Mar 2, 2017 | Despatch, Government, Tax

Some excellent response to the piece on Goldman Sachs and Australia’s biggest brewer SABMiller skiving out of tax and lodging dodgy accounts. This respondent to The Conversation gets to the nub of it:

Original story here:

How Goldman Sachs and Australia’s biggest brewer SAB pay no tax

Long-term accountant, Malcolm Crout, says no new laws required, just a matter of regulators doing their job:

The loophole of special purpose reporting on Holding Companies has been crying out to be tested by the ATO. They know, as do ASIC, that the Standards and Legislation are deliberately being misinterpreted by the big firms.

As a Fellow with both professional accounting bodies, and over thirty years experience, I am confident a challenge from either or both the ATO and ASIC would be successful. The justification for doing so is obvious and the question we need to ask is why neither body will move forward and put the matter before the judiciary.

The answer may lay in the fact that the big firms have people inside both the ATO and ASIC as consultants with regard to the pressing corporate taxation matters, including this issue of tax minimisation via special purpose reporting. Nothing will happen because these consultants are most likely professionally compromised.

My own associations are at fault here in that they should be making submissions to the big four and questioning their independence when their clients are large global corporates while they are consulting with both statutory bodies. They cannot ethically do both and there may be a case for the professional bodies to sanction the big firms over this matter.

At the root is that Governments are leery about heading off the global corporates due to the oft placed threat of moving operations elsewhere where taxation laws are lax. This is a nonsense argument and with some intestinal fortitude, the matter could be brought to a head very quickly.

No new laws are required, they already exist, but there is a lack of will by all parties to meet their moral, ethical, professional and legal obligations. Rather, Governments pick low hanging fruit of those unable or unlikely to defend themselves while these global parasites get a free lunch. Not good enough in a modern democracy – we deserve better.

Further comments, and they are very good, can be accessed via The Conversation website:


Michael West

Michael West

Michael West established to focus on journalism of high public interest, particularly the rising power of corporations over democracy. Formerly a journalist and editor at Fairfax newspapers and a columnist at News Corp, West was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Social and Political Sciences. You can follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelWestBiz.

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