06 May 2013
Rich get richer, poor pay their taxes
Since the onset of the global financial crisis, Australian companies have been paying just 27 cents tax for every dollar of profit they generate. The statutory rate is 30 cents in the dollar.
A Treasury issues paper to be released today by the Assistant Treasurer, David Bradbury, has examined the evidence on tax avoidance by multinational companies operating in Australia.
In the new global economy, it is easier than ever for big companies to avoid tax by shifting their profits to low tax countries.
According to Treasury's analysis, the proportion of profit that companies pay to the federal government is as low today as it was during the 1990s recession.
According to Treasury: "In comparison with other countries, Australia's corporate tax collections have fallen by more and recovered by less since the onset of the GFC."
Company tax receipts - including the mining tax - accounted for 22 per cent of total tax receipts in 2011-12.
Treasury says it is too early to say whether the reduction in tax paid by companies is the result of tax avoidance or companies simply carrying forward losses incurred during the GFC.
"The ...analysis provides a number of indicators that suggest the existence of base erosion and profit shifting in Australia. However...it is difficult to reach a definitive conclusion," Treasury concludes.
The Assistant Treasurer, David Bradbury, said the government had already tightened loopholes to protect more than $10 billion in revenue over the next four years.
"We don't want to see a future where hardworking Australian families and businesses have to pay disproportionately high taxes because multinational corporations are not pulling their weight," he said.
The paper also reveals the dominance of big business in Australia, with just 0.1 per cent of companies paying over half of all company tax paid in 2009-10.