Budget 2016: Targeting big business tax avoidance with new taskforce

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Over the next four years, the Government will fund $679 million into a Tax Avoidance Taskforce to crack down on tax avoidance by multinationals, private companies and wealthy individuals.

In his budget speech, Treasurer Scott Morrison announced the taskforce which will “secure more revenue for the Australian community and bring tax cheats to account”.

“Tonight I announce that these new laws will be backed up by a new operational taskforce of more than 1,000 specialist staff in the ATO to police and prosecute companies, multinationals and high wealth individuals not paying the tax they should,” said Morrison.

“It will put money back into the system and into the community while also deterring people from entering into aggressive tax planning arrangements.”

The Government also confirmed that it will adopt a Diverted Profits Tax (DFT), also referred to as the “Google Tax”, to impose a penalty rate of tax for large multinationals that shift their Australian profits offshore. The DFT is expected to raise $200 million in tax revenue.

The crackdown builds on measure implemented in the 2015 Budget and the Government’s Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law, whereby companies with global revenues exceeding $1 billion are penalized for tax avoidance.

“These measures will raise an additional $3.9 billion in revenue over the next four years, helping us to reduce the tax burden on hard working Australians and small business,” said Morrison.

There will also be a Tax Transparency Code to encourage transparency, which should be welcomed by small businesses and consumer alike, as well as protections for whistleblowers who report misconduct to the Australian Taxation Office.