Missing millions a sign of a broken system: Oxfam

Responding to the release of tax data today by the Australian Taxation Office, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said:

“The information published by the ATO today again exposes the unjust reality that one in three large companies paid not a single cent of tax in 2016-17.

“So long as the Government refuses to take necessary, tougher measures on tax transparency and the hidden owners of companies and trusts to further crack down on tax avoidance, large companies will continue to get away with not paying their fair share of taxes. This practice is fuelling poverty and inequality, not just in Australia, but around the world.

“This is the fourth consecutive year of reporting on this data that has revealed at least one in three companies are paying zero tax in Australia – and 281 companies, including Adani for its Abbot Point Terminal and ExxonMobil Australia, have not paid a cent of corporate tax into the public coffers since 2014-15.

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“The reduced ‘tax gap’ also reported by the ATO today – the shortfall on tax that would have been collected if all taxpayers were compliant – from $2.5 billion in 2014-15 to a lower $1.8 billion the following year is to be welcomed. It is the result of some positive measures and hard work by the ATO. This is money that can now be put back into the community through essential public services.

“But we believe these are conservative estimates of the amount of tax that is being lost through avoidance strategies. The only way to hold big corporations to account for their global tax practices is through requiring mandatory public reporting of taxes paid, income, profits and employees on a country-by-country basis.

“The broken global tax system continues to allow multinationals to deprive governments in the poorest countries of much-needed funds for vital services such as health, education and clean water, as well as docking money from Australia’s public coffers.”

/Public Release.