Category: Australia

Australia Announces Housing Tax Breaks

The Australian Government has unveiled a package of housing tax breaks, including a new scheme for first-time buyers, a superannuation incentive for downsizers, and tighter rules for foreign residents. In a joint release, Treasurer Scott Morrison and his Assistant Minister, Michael Sukkar, said: “Housing affordability is a major issue affecting...

ATO’s finance ruling puts companies the ‘red zone’

The Australian Tax Office is preparing to take several companies to court over abuse of thin capitalisation rules and will start a wave of audits of large multinationals with complex cross-border loans, as it continues to take a hardline approach in the wake of its win against Chevron. The ATO...

Memo to: real estate vendors – if the sale price is $750,000 or more you need a Tax Clearance Certificate for settlement

In Federal Budget 2017, the Government is clamping down on tax avoidance by foreign investors in real estate, by tightening the foreign resident capital gains tax withholding regime. The new laws apply to both Australian resident and foreign resident vendors: Australian resident vendors of real property of $750,000 or more...

South Australia’s competitive tax regime is set to attract astute commercial property investors

SOUTH Australia is set to become the most competitive tax jurisdiction for commercial investment in Australia according to Collier’s International’s latest Radar research. The boast is prompted by the introduction, on July 1, of the state government’s second stamp duty reform which will come into effect as part of comprehensive...

BHP Billiton defends its Singapore marketing hub, says tax dispute is not about ‘tax avoidance’

BHP has defended its Singapore marketing hub, where it is accused of routing profits, and says it is confident of its position in a $1 billion dispute with the Australian Taxation Office over the amount of taxes payable on the sale of Australian commodities to its Singapore marketing business. BHP’s...

Westpac: We Will Have To Pass On Aus Bank Levy

Westpac has said that Australia’s new bank levy will cost it around AUD370m (USD275.7m) a year, and warned that “no company can simply ‘absorb’ a new tax.” In a letter to shareholders, Westpac chair Lindsay Maxsted described the tax as “bad public policy.” He said that the Government intends to...

Regulatory Issues: Financial account information exchange for increased tax compliance

Malaysian individuals and entities that have bank accounts overseas will soon see their financial information being shared with other countries and tax authorities in an effort to boost global transparency and tax compliance. This requirement is part of the automatic exchange of financial account information set out by the Organisation...

Australian Budget Targets Housing, Tax Compliance

Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison’s 2017 Budget focused on measures to cool the housing market and crack down on tax avoidance. Morrison handed down the Budget on May 9. He said the the budget would return to a surplus in 2020-21 and remain in surplus over the medium term. The Budget...

Budget 2017: “Black economy”, multinationals in spotlight as government focuses on tax integrity

The federal government has pledged to create more fairness for businesses and “level the playing field” through a series of budget measures directed at tackling Australia’s so-called “black economy”. The government gave its “black economy taskforce” the job of investigating how individuals and businesses use cash payments in December 2016,...

Invoicing scam

THE Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority has uncovered a scam where companies hire graphic artists to manipulate the value of overseas invoices. Speaking on the global move towards greater financial disclosure, FRCA director corporate services Fazrul Rahman said a Fiji company was under the microscope for incorrect invoicing. “This Fiji...

Chevron: a game-changer for multinational tax avoiders

The Australian Tax Office had a superb win against Chevron in the Federal Court last week, but there is something everyone is missing, something that will turn the art of tax avoidance on its head; a game-changer for multinationals. Put simply, Chevron borrowed US$2.5 billion in the US at less...

Australia Urged To Scrap GST On Digital Imports

An Australian taxpayer advocacy group has joined forces with a coalition of international taxpayer organizations and academics to condemn the Government’s plans to abolish the low-value goods and services tax threshold on imports. In separate submissions to the Senate inquiry into the proposes GST changes, the Australian Taxpayers Alliance and...

Corporate giants hit with $2.2b Australia tax bill

Companies including Apple, Google and BHP Billiton were grilled at parliamentary hearings on their tax structures in 2015 SYDNEY: Australia on Thursday said it had slapped seven large multinationals with a multi-billion-dollar tax bill as it pursued global firms shifting profits offshore to minimise liabilities. The companies hit with the...

G20 Citizens Favor BEPS Crackdown Over Tax Competition

Citizens in G20 countries would prefer their government engage in international efforts to improve the functioning of international tax rules than compete for tax receipts, says a new survey. G20 public trust in tax, a report compiled by the ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), IFAC (the International Federation...

Facebook, Google paying more local tax in Australia after tax avoidance crackdown: officials

Multinational companies are now paying tax based on their Australian profits instead of shifting income to low-tax countries, officials say. CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA—Facebook, Google and other multinational companies are now paying tax in Australia based on their Australian profits instead of shifting income to low-tax countries since the government cracked down...

Treasurer to launch fresh attack on multinational tax avoidance as Parliament resumes

Treasurer Scott Morrison will launch a fresh attack on tax avoidance this week in Parliament in a bid to get the so-called “Google Tax” pushed through and shift public attention towards the Coalition’s record on multinational tax crackdowns. The Diverted Profits Tax is due to be debated this week, almost...

Westpac crackdown on foreign buyers and money laundering

Property buyers will be quizzed about their tax residency under new anti-money-laundering rules being introduced by Westpac and its subsidiaries St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA. Mortgage brokers, who act as intermediaries between the banks and buyers, are being told that from this week they must also ask...

Bank transparency, data matching for tax purposes

The government’s plan to issue a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) concerning banking transparency, which includes allowing the tax authority to access taxpayers’ bank data, has sparked hot public debate. The proponents argue that such an initiative is critical, outlining the fact that the government has to comply with...

Govt seeks to lift focus on nominee directors & bring anti-money laundering into the picture in attempt to clean up Financial Service Providers Register

The Government is considering making companies include detail of who their supervisor is under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act (AML/CFT Act) as it strives to clean up the Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR). This suggestion is included in a consultation paper on a Financial Services Legislation...

Australia Legislates For Low Value Import GST Reforms

The Australian Government has introduced legislation to extend the goods and services tax (GST) to low value imports from July 1, 2017. The legislation, introduced on February 16, requires overseas vendors, electronic distribution platforms, and goods forwarders with an Australian turnover of AUD75,000 (USD57,528) or more to register for, collect,...

Is a register of beneficial ownership of companies coming?

As part of the global transparency push, the G20 has committed to implement rules requiring the disclosure of beneficial ownership of legal entities (in addition to automatic exchange of financial account information and the BEPS related transparency measures). On 13 February 2017, Treasury released a consultation paper dealing with part...

Diverted Profits Tax introduced into Parliament

The Government has introduced the Diverted Profits Tax Bill 2017 and the 35 page Treasury Laws Amendment (Combating Multinational Tax Avoidance) Bill 2017 into Parliament to implement the Diverted Profits Tax (DPT), as one of its first Parliamentary items of business in 2017, indicating the priority attached to this measure....

Company tax: big business already pays less than 30% rate, ATO data shows

Business Council of Australia is urging tax cuts to remain competitive but transparency report show members’ effective rate is 24.3% The members of the Business Council of Australia, who are leading the push to cut Australia’s corporate tax rate from 30%, already pay an effective tax rate five percentage points...

BEPS big bang complexity for income tax treaties – on a delayed fuse

The OECD made its end-November 2016 deadline to release the text of the multilateral treaty to give effect to the BEPS Actions which involve changes to tax treaties, see here. The 49 page treaty text, which is commonly referred to as the multilateral instrument or MLI, and 85 page explanatory...

Treasury figures show capital gains concession dwarfs superannuation tax breaks

Main residence exemption costing budget $61.5bn, almost double the $33bn lost to super concessions The federal government’s tax breaks for home owner-occupiers are dwarfing tax breaks for superannuation. New figures show the capital gains tax concession on the family home is now worth $61.5bn, almost double the $33bn lost to...

Bermuda – the world’s former ‘No.1 tax haven’ – joins fight against multinationals

Bermuda – the world’s former “top tax haven” – has joined the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s fight against multinational profit shifting. Bermuda disputes it is a tax haven despite companies such as Apple and Google in the past being accused of using the British overseas territory to minimise...

ATO warns energy giants over offshore profit hubs

The Australian Taxation Office has its sights on a $30 billion-a-year natural gas export bonanza expected over the next few years, warning oil and gas giants not to follow the lead of the big miners and “inappropriately shift profits” by selling through tax haven Singapore. At the same time, it...

Plans for Australia to adopt a ‘Google tax’ welcomed by advocacy group

Coalition’s proposed diverted profits tax could capture billions in revenue from multinationals using profit-shifting practices, says Tax Justice Network One of the biggest critics of multinational tax avoidance has welcomed the Coalition’s proposed “Google tax”, saying a similar tax in the UK looks likely to increase corporate tax payments by...

Israel Tax Authority Deems Bitcoin a Taxable Asset

The Israeli Tax Authority has issued an official draft circular to clarify the tax guidelines that apply to bitcoin adopters. In an announcement last week, the Israel Tax Authority released its draft [PDF] on the proposed taxation of virtual currencies which are considered “assets”. Pointedly, the announcement also cites the...

Snapchat opts for London over Dublin for international HQ

Move could be a worrying indicator of investment trends post-Brexit, post-Beps Snap, the company behind Snapchat, has opted to open its new new international headquarters in London, rather than Dublin, Amsterdam or Luxembourg, bucking a trend which for decades has seen US multinationals book their international sales in one of...

Corporate tax-dodging in Australia costs billions

Two reports on company taxation show that more than a third of the largest companies operating in Australia paid no tax in 2014–15 and that multinational tax evasion cost an estimated $4.8 billion that year. These reports show the fraud of the claims being made by the Australian government and...

Government planning action to target multinationals over tax

The Government is planning unilateral action to crack down on tax dodging by multinational companies, including changing the law, amid growing concern about fairness. Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse said proposals outlined in a cabinet discussion document tabled last month would see Inland Revenue properly armed to tackle the problem and...