Corporate tax avoidance inquiry: Submission

by David Richardson

‘Now of course I am minimizing my tax and if anybody in this country doesn’t minimize their tax they want their heads read…’

– Kerry Packer giving evidence to the 1991 House of Representatives Committee of Inquiry into the Australian Print Media Industry when questioned about his tax payments.

On 2 October 2014 the Senate referred an inquiry into corporate tax avoidance to the Senate Economics References Committee for inquiry with the following terms of reference

Tax avoidance and aggressive minimisation by corporations registered in Australia and multinational corporations operating in Australia, with specific reference to:

a. the adequacy of Australia’s current laws;

b. any need for greater transparency to deter tax avoidance and provide assurance that all companies are complying fully with Australia’s tax laws;

c. the broader economic impacts of this behaviour, beyond the direct effect on government revenue;

 d. the opportunities to collaborate internationally and/or act unilaterally to address the problem;

 e. the performance and capability of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to investigate and launch litigation, in the wake of drastic budget cuts to staffing numbers;

f. the role and performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in working with corporations and supporting the ATO to protect public revenue;

g. any relevant recommendations or issues arising from the Government’s White Paper process on the ‘Reform of Australia’s Tax System’; and

h. any other related matters.

The Australia Institute’s Dave Richardson gave evidence to the Committee, taking further questions on the 9th of April, 2015

Full report