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07 Jul 14 Treasury address - Implications of digitisation for the Australian tax system

On 4 July 2014, Rob Heferen, Executive Director in the Revenue Group of Treasury gave an address entitled "Implications of digitisation for the Australian tax system" to the 2014 Economic and Social Outlook Conference of the Melbourne Institute.

Mr Heferen commenced his address by stating: "Globalisation and digitisation have presented policy advisers and policy makers with opportunities to consider what constitutes an appropriate tax system in this ever changing world." He noted that it is one of the key focusses of the G20 in 2014 and 2015.

In terms of integrity measures, Mr Heferen said:

"In view of evidence of multinational enterprises claiming excessive debt deductions in Australia, the government last year committed to reducing the thin capitalisation safe harbour to deal with this sort of planning. The Government will also ensure multinational taxpayers can no longer claim a tax exemption for interest income from loans to offshore subsidiaries, where this income should be assessable. I note that this tightening was announced by the previous Government in the 13-14 Budget and committed to by the current Government in November 2013."

Without offering answers as to what should be done, Mr Heferen concluded his address by saying:

"How should we respond? As a policy adviser, but not a policy maker it would, of course, be presumptuous of me to proffer a view. Needless to say the Tax White Paper provides an exciting opportunity to take a big step forward in addressing this challenge. And it’s a key challenge in the context of ensuring our future prosperity."


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