back to article Australia joins hunt for corporate tax dodgers

Australia's government has signalled it will try to publish details of how much tax multinationals pay in the island nation. Australia's Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury last year explained, and bemoaned, the “Double Irish Dutch Sandwich” used by the likes of Google to minimise the amount of tax they pay. Microsoft and other …


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  1. RW

    The proposal overlooks a well-known fact

    Naming and shaming will have no effect. Corporations and those who control them have no shame.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: The proposal overlooks a well-known fact

      Almost - it had an effect on Starbucks in the UK. A business that sells a fungible product to the public may be subject to a mass boycott and may think it's cheap PR to make an ex gratia payment to the Treasury. But if you're talking about a giant mining concern, I wouldn't hold my breath.

  2. Thorne

    "which while legal do not reflect the intent of the law."

    Ummm law has nothing to do with intent ( or justice for that matter ) The letter of the law is the law and everybody wants to minimize tax so if it's legal, it's legal.

    Don't like it? Change the law

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My thoughts exactly.

      it's a catch 22. Companies are putting mucho money into politicians pockets so the politicians keep passing the laws to allow them to get away with it. Hell, many politicians are doing the same thing!

      Chicken in the hen house.

      1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

        RE: My thoughts exactly.

        Chicken in the hen house.

        More like a fox in with the hens... It looks like we are not talking about honest politicians (those that stay bought), either, given that they seem to be turning on their erstwhile benefactors. Even if it is logical that many will be netted at the same time as their corporate bosses, most will not realize the implications of the laws they themselves pass. You can rest assured that those that do will make every effort to incorporate a loophole sufficiently large enough to fit a tax haven just big enough for an elected official to relax in.

      2. Thorne

        "it's a catch 22. Companies are putting mucho money into politicians pockets so the politicians keep passing the laws to allow them to get away with it. Hell, many politicians are doing the same thing!"

        Pollies leave the loop holes because they use them themselves

  3. Grikath

    Wait a moment...

    Is this guy saying the Oz tax office still has to get its' data to find out how much the international multicorps actually paid? From other sources? In this day and age?

    The mind boggles....

  4. southpacificpom

    I'm all for making the bastards pay, why should they be so damn special not to pay billions in tax when there is a lot of middle class families stuggling to put a meal on the table every day?

    I wonder when the sissy NZ govt will do the same instead of kissing the ass of Hollywood...

    1. Thorne

      If you want to make them pay, change the law. Name and shame is a total waste of time. Don't blame them for legal tax minimization.

      1. southpacificpom

        Bit difficult to change the law here in NZ especially when the govt is hell bent on playing girlfriend to the US, of where most of the tax abuse originates.

        1. big_D Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Even abused girlfriends are allowed to say no means no...

    2. P. Lee Silver badge

      You are missing the organisational dynamic.

      Political parties get lots of money directly from corporates, but the cost of non-tax payments is spread over the population at large.

      Like all organisations, parties are externalising costs and maximising revenue.

      Apart from thinking, "this would play well with the voters," it would be extremely difficult to put together clear rules about revenue recognition without relying on arbitrary ATO/HMRC evaluations, which may lead to more corruption and little extra revenue.

  5. fero

    Someone will always spout off about how they still pay tax through VAT and employee income tax. This is true however the real issue is how they have a competitive advantage over the local competitors who can't bend tax rules like this. The small players can't compete, end up going out of business, the international corporations then dominate and guess what, prices go up, customers don't gain, and the tax man still loses out.

    1. frank ly


      What you said about 'competitive advantage' is quite correct and is against the principles of 'free market capitalism', since the small local companies are not free to use the techniques the big internationals enjoy.

      As for those who spout off about VAT and employee income tax, that must be challenged as soon as it is said.

      VAT is not paid by the companies, it is paid by their customers. If VAT was doubled overnight, it would not affect the profits of the company, since all they do is collect it and pass it on to the government.

      If income tax was doubled overnight then that too would not affect the profits of the companies. For the large companies to say that they are the ones who are paying VAT and income tax is like me saying, "because I didn't kill you today, that means that I've saved your life, and I'll save your life tomorrow as well, I'm so good to you."

  6. Persona non grata

    Here's an idea

    Instead of the completely ineffectual 'name and shame' how about simply not making any government purchases from these companies.

    Bad publicity they can spin away, cash flow they care about.

    Also, can politicians stop treating us like 3 year olds, rhyming is not big and clever. Effective intelligent policy is.

    1. southpacificpom

      Re: Here's an idea

      Even better way is to stop them trading in your country until they pay their fair share - simple as that.

  7. taxman
    Big Brother

    World gangs up on....

    Look who works for the UK tax office now. Any views from the grassy knoll on similarities in approaches by UK and now Australia on Corp tax affairs?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Name and shame

    Just means they're putting in systems to acquire their targets... Once they have the hang of that for a year or two the fun starts. The tax system is damned complicated

  9. Wombling_Free

    Why only foreigners?

    Oh, thats right, all Aussies are good law-abiding citizens who are sparkly clean, don't do any of that naughty corruption & graft, and always pay their just and fair taxes.

    Like all of our mining & media fatties (why are our rich always so GODDAMN FAT? Do they revel in the stereotype or something?) who are all such good corporate citizens. *cough* Packer *cough* Rhinehardt *cough* Obeid

  10. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Morally repugnant witch hunt

    If we want compliance with some standard we should define what that amounts to and codify it in law.

    Rabble rousing, lighting torches and picking up pitchforks to threaten and coerce compliance with some arbitrary standard should not be acceptable. It is vigilante mob rule which governments should not encourage and absolutely not indulge in

    This is what government by Daily Mail commentards would look like.

  11. Elmer Phud

    Stable Door

    He's now an American

  12. JT163

    Name and shame my large, round buttocks!

    As an Aussie I say "FSCK That!!!".

    Name and shame my big fat, round, wobbly bum.

    I want a "prosecute and collect" policy.

    Or legislate, prosecute and collect.

    Whatever it takes.

    I pay more taxes because they pay less.

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