| CANBERRA, April 3
CANBERRA, April 3 Australia will force corporate
giants such as Google Inc and Apple Inc to
disclose their tax arrangements in an effort to curb alleged tax
avoidance by multinational corporations.
The increasingly borderless global economy means big firms
often have no tax liability in a country, even with a major
local presence, Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said on
In Australia, multinationals including the local arm of
Google have been accused of shifting income to countries such as
Holland or Ireland where tax rates are lower. Neither Google nor
Apple could immediately comment when contacted by Reuters.
"This should not be a guessing game," Bradbury told Reuters
after releasing measures that would require about 2,000 large
and multinational businesses, including miners BHP Billiton
and Rio Tinto with yearly revenue of A$100
million ($104.60 million) or more, to have their tax details
published by the government.
"The government intends to improve transparency around how
much tax large enterprises are paying. We want to make sure that
large multinational companies are paying their fair share," he
Australia's minority Labor government last year released
draft revisions to tax laws to stop profit shifting in line with
a push by Britain and Germany, and discussions last year within
the Group of 20 wealthy nations.
Asked in a radio interview on Wednesday about alleged profit
shifting by Google, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she did
not want to single out any company but said profit shifting was
an international issue requiring action by G20 nations.
"As a matter of principle, taxpayers, whether they're
companies or individuals, should pay their proper rate of tax,"
Gillard said. "This is an ongoing discussion at an international
The revisions, opposed by opposition conservatives, will be
voted on by parliament after the May 14 Budget, with the
government requiring support from a handful of independent
lawmakers and Greens holding the balance of power.
The amendments aim to shut down loopholes that risk the loss
of more than A$1 billion in government revenues each year by
allowing IT firms to avoid or reduce tax through online sales.
Australia's corporate tax rate is 30 percent, compared with
Ireland's rate of 12.5 percent. Some major companies including
Rio Tinto have already begun publishing tax details, expanding
on information in existing financial statements.