REPORT: Rio Tinto has an executive inside Treasury working on tax

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Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has a senior tax executive working inside the federal Treasury department to work through the complex tax issues around transfer pricing which are becoming an increasingly troublesome controversy for the major resources companies.

The AFR reports Michael Potajko, formerly an Asia Pacific tax risk specialist at Rio, has been working for Treasury on secondment since 2013.

Potajko’s previous role was likely linked to Rio’s Singapore marketing hub, which is currently being investigated by the Senate Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance.

His job at Treasury reportedly involves direct contact with Australian Tax Office officials.

Potajko, as a Treasury representative, sat in via phone on a Treasury-ATO working group last year which discussed transfer pricing laws and preventative policing policies.

Last week Treasurer Joe Hockey said the government was determined to go after companies which do not pay legitimate levels of tax in Australia and that the ATO had embedded officials in major companies to understand how to go about it.

Treasury deputy secretary Robert Heferen told the AFR that seconded employees had to sign detailed non-disclosure agreements.

There’s more here.

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