In media release No 2013/005, issued 4 February 2013, the Assistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation, David Bradbury, announced the Government's intention to improve the transparency of Australia's business tax system.
"Large multinational companies that use complex arrangements and contrived corporate structures to avoid paying their fair share of tax should not be able to hide behind a veil of secrecy," said Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury MP.
Protecting taxpayer confidentiality for individuals is essential, but recent events in Australia and around the world call into question whether large and multinational businesses should have the same level of confidentiality about the taxes they have paid.
Improving the transparency of Australia's business tax system will encourage enterprises to pay their fair share of tax and discourage aggressive tax minimisation practices. It will allow the public to better understand the business tax system and engage in debates about tax policy.
The Government will also explore ways to improve the sharing of tax information between the Australian Taxation Office and other key corporate regulators including the Foreign Investment Review Board, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
"That is why I have asked Treasury, in consultation with the Specialist Reference Group on Ways to Address Tax Minimisation of Multinational Enterprises I announced in December last year, to develop the details of how changes could be implemented," said Mr Bradbury. In particular:
- How the policy could best be designed to cover large and multinational businesses, including whether a threshold test would be appropriate;
- Which federal taxes should be disclosed; and
- How the tax information should be made publicly available.