BUDGET 2017: The ATO has already squeezed $2.9 billion from several multinational companies

Photo: Saeed Khan /AFP/ Getty Images

The federal government is intensifying its campaign against multinationals to ensure they pay their fair share of tax.

The 2017 budget papers shows the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has so far this financial year raised $2.9 billion in tax liabilities from several large multinational companies.

And the tax office expects to raise more than $4 billion in total this financial year from large public companies and multinationals.

The government says it will build on its recent reforms targeting multinational tax avoidance, including the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law, Country-by-Country Reporting, the Tax Avoidance Taskforce and the Diverted Profits Tax.

“Tonight we are toughening the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law to extend the rules to structures involving foreign partnerships or trusts and clamping down on aggressive structuring using hybrids,” says treasurer Scott Morrison.

Other measures:

  • Introducing legislation as soon as possible to combat GST fraud in the precious metals industry, where some gold traders are exploiting loopholes or committing fraud by receiving GST and not paying it, or claiming GST refunds when none is paid.
  • Strengthening GST law to stop some property developers from avoiding obligations by making purchasers of newly constructed residential properties or new subdivisions pay the GST directly to the ATO as part of settlement.
  • Banning technology that modifies or deletes sales records for the purposes of understating business income to avoid paying the correct amount of tax.
  • Bolstering the integrity of the capital gains tax rules by denying foreign and temporary residents access to the main residence exemption when they sell property in Australia and expanding the foreign resident capital gains tax by increasing the withholding rate to 12.5% from 10% and reducing the threshold from $2 million to $750,000.

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