Category: Fairfax Media

Showdown between ATO and big business looms as list of company tax paid is revealed

A showdown between the Australian Taxation Office and the nation’s largest companies including Chevron, Crown and BHP Billiton is looming as the tax man hits seven large companies with tax bills amounting to $2 billion. On Friday, the ATO released its corporate tax transparency report for 2014-15, which includes limited… – Continue reading

High Court confirms tax evasion by companies linked to wealthy businessman Vanda Gould

A series of companies associated with high-flying Sydney accountant who had scores of wealthy clients in Sydney’s eastern suburbs have been found to have avoided paying tax by the High Court, in a case that the tax office has described as “blatant tax evasion”. Four companies linked to accountant, Vanda… – Continue reading

Top corporate players sign up for voluntary tax code

Twenty of the nation’s largest companies have voluntarily signed up to a comprehensive new code to disclose more details of their tax affairs in their latest ¬annual accounts following a series of scandals involving local and offshore firms. In the May budget, the federal government announced it was committed to… – Continue reading

Wesfarmers urges Aldi to sign tax code in ‘corporate peer pressure’

Coles has urged its German rival Aldi to sign up to a new tax transparency code that will lead to more big businesses, particularly multinationals, releasing detailed information about the tax they pay. Aldi has yet to sign up to the Voluntary Tax Transparency Code, which targets more than 1500… – Continue reading

APAs in fashion as Swedish retailer H&M inks four-year Australian tax deal

Fast-fashion retailer H&M is one of a growing number of multinationals locking in their Australian tax, as debate continues about whether Australia has stopped corporate tax leakage. H&M’s strongly performing Australian subsidiary has entered into a four-year Advanced Pricing Agreement (APA) with the tax office that expires on November 30,… – Continue reading

Australia to gain from Singapore joining OECD fight against multinational tax avoidance

Multinationals suspected of routing Australian profits via Singapore will be outed to tax authorities, with the low-tax nation this week signing up to the global plan to fight tax evasion. Companies including big miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto as well as technology giants Apple and Google, have admitted using… – Continue reading

NSW Budget 2016: Foreign property buyers in NSW to be hit with stamp duty and land tax hikes

Stamp duty will be doubled for foreign buyers of a median priced Sydney house under changes to be introduced in next week’s NSW budget. Based on the Sydney median house price of $995,804, the stamp duty bill for a foreign investor will increase by almost $40,000 – from $40,305 to… – Continue reading

Panama Papers: Further revelations about New Zealand’s role as a tax haven

Reports published last week, based on the Panama Papers, cast further light on New Zealand’s role as a location where wealthy individuals around the world are able to hide their fortunes. Last month the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released millions of leaked documents revealing that Panama-based Mossack Fonseca, the… – Continue reading

McDonald’s halves its tax bill, back pays $78m

McDonald’s Australia was able to more than halve its tax bill last year after routing payments via the low-tax nation of Singapore. Each year McDonald’s reduces its profit, and thus its local tax bill, by paying McDonald’s Asia Pacific based in Singapore, and registered in Delaware, a “service fee” amounting… – Continue reading

ATO to unveil large business hit list, clamps down on Singapore hubs

Hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue could be up for grabs as the Tax Office announces reviews of multinationals using offshore hubs in Singapore to minimise their tax. The ATO has issued a warning to multinationals to come forward immediately to discuss their overseas hub arrangements, if they have… – Continue reading

Punters punting our tax pennies offshore

Australian punters will be thrilled to know that when they do their shirts gambling their post-tax dollars, those very same dollars, which become the pre-tax dollars of the British online betting giants, are funnelled off to places like Gibraltar, pre-tax. University of NSW accounting academic, Jeff Knapp, and Fairfax Media… – Continue reading

‘Dr Ageless’, Shane Charter, chasing missing millions in Cayman Islands

EXCLUSIVE The self-styled biochemist known as “Dr Ageless”, Shane Charter, appears to have shrugged off the Essendon supplements scandal and is pursuing a new business venture — chasing more than $11 million hidden in offshore tax havens by notorious conman Peter Foster. Mr Charter has been negotiating for several months… – Continue reading

ATO takes tighter approach to deals with multinationals on future taxes

Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan has become more picky about entering agreements with multinationals aimed at giving companies certainty about their tax payment requirements in Australia in future years. Taxpayers can lock in their tax payment for a period of about three years via an “advanced pricing agreement”, or APA. Technology… – Continue reading

Gas sector grew 12-fold in a decade to $60b but tax take flatlines

EXCLUSIVE A federal tax designed to share profits from the oil and gas sector with the Australian public is barely raising a single extra dollar despite the industry’s transformation from a $5 billion concern a decade ago to a $60 billion export powerhouse. With Australia poised to become the world’s… – Continue reading

Motor racing legend Alan Jones linked to serial conman Peter Foster

Australian motor racing legend Alan Jones has become embroiled in the collapse of an online gambling company operated by notorious conman Peter Foster which owes $11.5 million to about 150 investors. The 69-year-old former winner of the Formula One Drivers’ Championship was named in a writ to be lodged in… – Continue reading

Transparency is best tonic for multinational tax avoidance

‘Special purpose’ approach by accountants hides corporate secrets Amid the maelstrom over the GST, the Senate last night passed what may be the most useful piece of legislation yet to combat multinational tax avoidance. The new law was not carried by the government, whose track record on tackling big tax… – Continue reading

Victims of conman Peter Foster hunt missing millions

Exclusive More than 100 victims of notorious conman Peter Foster have moved to freeze funds held in offshore tax havens after more than $10 million was siphoned from his online gambling company Sports Trading Club. Fairfax Media can reveal Foster and at least eight associates have been served with freezing… – Continue reading

Australia a safe haven for illicit funds, US overtakes Cayman as tax shelter for rich

Australia hosts significant quantities of illicit funds from outside the country, according to the 2015 Financial Secrecy Index. The Tax Justice Network’s index, released every two years, rates countries based on financial transparency. The latest index rates Australia 44 out of 100 (from 47 in the previous survey) meaning it… – Continue reading

Europe wants to get to the core of our Apple issue

The European Commission looks highly likely to make a finding against Ireland in relation to its tax arrangements with Apple, following two similar findings during the week involving Starbucks and Fiat. It is perplexing that the EC doesn’t just come out and make the announcement. The delay is leading to… – Continue reading

Shell pumped $20 billion a year from motorists but paid no company tax

For the third year on the trot, Shell service stations generated billions of dollars and revenue but not a cent in company tax. In fact the owners of the sunny yellow servos reported tax benefits in all three years despite total sales which may be in excess of $60 billion…. – Continue reading

Whistleblower group will work with Aussies over Mara’s alleged tax evasion

The National Oversight and Whistleblowers (NOW) will be lodging reports with Australian authorities to investigate Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) for possible tax evasion and money laundering in its purchase of four Melbourne properties between late 2012 and early 2013. Its director Akmal Nasir will travel to Australia next week to… – Continue reading

Complaint lodged with ASX over Adani job claims for Carmichael mine

A complaint has been lodged with the ASX alleging an announcement about Australia’s biggest coal development contained misleading information about the project’s economic potential. In December last year Downer EDI Limited announced to the ASX its partnership with Adani Mining, to provide services for the controversial Carmichael mine in central… – Continue reading

Singapore’s government says it’s not a tax haven, it’s a value-adding hub

Singapore is not a tax haven, it’s a value-adding hub. That is the claim of the island nation’s Economic Development Board, the Singaporean government agency that’s been charged with attracting business and investment. It has disputed recent claims at the Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance that it’s being used… – Continue reading

Google tax: Hockey top adviser attacked plan in former role

The man chosen by Treasurer Joe Hockey to lead the review of the nation’s tax system has publicly criticised the British government’s “Google tax”, the inspiration for the Coalition’s looming crackdown on multinational profit shifting. Robert Jeremenko, who is running the tax white paper process in Mr Hockey’s office, described… – Continue reading

Google, Rio, BHP, Apple: Tax the ‘selfish corporate rabble’

The head of the Business Council of Australia (BCA), Catherine Livingstone, has called for a national “conversation” about what the federal government and the business community euphemistically call “economic reform”. Ever in thrall to trickle-down economics, they manage to talk in “doublespeak”, a close relative of the doublethink that George… – Continue reading

Senate tax inquiry: Google, Apple, Microsoft policies highlight golden days of tax laxness

There was a moment on Tuesday evening – hours before the first public hearing of the Senate inquiry into corporate tax evasion – when Treasurer Joe Hockey and his advisers should have sensed a firestorm approaching. Sandwiched between a story on a Gold Coast diet blogger accused of pinching other… – Continue reading

Big Four firms consistently ‘unaware’ before tax inquiry

Representatives from “Big Four” accounting firm Deloitte were up before the Senate tax inquiry on Friday morning. They were keen to dispel any notion that their firm would have any involvement in tax avoidance. Senator Christine Milne asked if they were aware of the Deloitte document “Investing in Africa though… – Continue reading

Google says give R&D tax breaks to small techies, not big guys

Tax breaks for research and development should be targeted to smaller technology start-ups, rather than big companies that will most likely make the investments regardless of incentives, Google Australia will tell the senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance. Google Australia’s managing director, Maile Carnegie, will be appearing before the inquiry… – Continue reading

Apple, Google and Microsoft grilled over Australian tax avoidance

Apple, Google and Microsoft have faced an Australian Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance on Wednesday. The tech giants have given evidence to a committee regarding the low amounts of tax paid locally in comparison to their profits. From the coy responses of the big three, one may come to… – Continue reading

News Corp CEO Julian Clarke rejects tax avoidance claim

Allegations that News Corp engaged in an aggressive tax avoidance scheme have been strongly rejected by the company. News Corp Australia chief executive Julian Clarke said in a statement: “This claim is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of these transactions, US and Australian tax treaties and applicable… – Continue reading

Energy company’s $11 billion transfer to Singapore rings tax avoidance alarm bells

An energy company operating in Australia transferred more than $11 billion to the low-tax jurisdiction of Singapore in a single year, heightening concerns that Australia is being duped by tax-minimising multinationals. The extraordinary scale of funds being moved out of the country by individual companies is revealed in an internal… – Continue reading

More profit-shifting to Singapore: report

Internal documents from the Australian Taxation Office indicate an energy company operating in Australia transferred more than $11 billion to low-taxing Singapore, according to Fairfax Media. The report says the documents, secured under freedom of information, underline concerns that multi-nationals operating in Australia are dodging their tax obligations. The document… – Continue reading

Joe Hockey’s Google tax could derail international tax treaties: Budget Office

The likely centrepiece of Treasurer Joe Hockey’s assault on multinational profit-shifting – a so-called “Google tax” – risks breaking Australia’s international tax treaties, the Parliamentary Budget Office has found. The independent adviser warned that the unilateral introduction of a “diverted profits tax” like ones being considered by Australia and Britain… – Continue reading

Big business took $25 billion in tax relief in 2014, Tax Office figures show

Australia’s biggest 900 companies claimed tax deductions and exemptions worth a total $25 billion last year – enough to wipe out two-thirds of the current federal budget deficit at a stroke. As Treasurer Joe Hockey prompted a national “conversation” about tax reform, including the prospect of a higher and broader… – Continue reading

Netflix won’t charge Australians GST

Sparks are flying after Netflix said it would not charge GST on the Australian version of its online television service which launches next Tuesday. United States-based Netflix, Quickflix, Foxtel Play, Presto and Stan, partly owned by Fairfax Media, are locked in a bidding battle to secure the best programs for… – Continue reading

More multinationals head for tax haven

US companies appear to be thumbing their noses at a global crackdown on tax avoidance, with share registry group Computershare reporting an increase in multinationals re-incorporating in Ireland. In a briefing to investors on its regional outlook last week, Computershare said its Irish division had noticed ”further momentum in US… – Continue reading