Australia to share tax information with Britain

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Australia to share tax information with Britain

Part of plan to target tax avoidance by tech giants.

The Australian Government has agreed to share tax information with Britain, joining a pilot along with France, Germany, Italy and Spain, to crack down on international tax evasion.

The agreement comes ahead of Australia’s G20 presidency next year, and at the same time as the Government seeks community input on the "aggressive tax practices" of global companies like Google and Apple.

The Government is seeking to establish risks to the local corporate tax base from the current use of international tax rules.

Apple paid only $40 million in tax in Australia in 2011 despite achieving record revenues of $6 billion, while Google was reported to have paid $74,176 in tax off $201 million in revenue - a figure later disputed by the company, which claimed its tax bill was closer to $781,471.

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said the shared agenda between Britain and Australia would help ensure “a global tax system that is fair and fit for purpose for the modern economy".

Tech giant Google currently shifts much of its Australian advertising revenue into an Irish subsidiary. Ireland's corporate tax rate is 12.5 percent, compared to Australia's corporate tax rate of 30 percent.

“This continues Australia's strong commitment and leadership in promoting better exchange of information to help ensure the integrity of the international tax system," Federal Treasurer Chris Bowen said in a statement,

Bowen said the latest agreement between Britain and Australia complemented the OECD/G20 project on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting to address tax avoidance, which both the UK and Australia strongly supported.

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