The Senate is holding a formal inquiry to investigate the dodgy tax practices of multinationals. They're seeking public submissions, but we only have until Monday to have our say.

A single submission from thousands of GetUp members, all speaking with one voice on this issue, will send a powerful message to the Senate, and to the Government, that the community expects and demands concrete action on corporate tax dodging now.

GetUp's Submission

To the Senate Economics References Committee,

This is a submission supported by thousands of individual Australians.

We write to thank you for your work, and to reiterate the outrage that we feel as a community over the lack of concrete action to address corporate tax avoidance.

The fact remains that our corporate tax watchdog, the Australian Taxation Office, has had its budget slashed and critical staff pushed out the door. Its audit team has dwindled in size and internally people at the ATO have questioned how they can really 'crack down' to recover the billions lost from corporate tax avoidance while their organisation is being gutted.1

Despite the pledges of future action at the G20, there are a lot of things the Treasurer could be doing right this minute in line with international action to curtail corporate tax dodging. For example, there was a whole raft of corporate tax loopholes the Government kept open in 2013 — costing Australia $1 billion dollars.2 The Treasurer also recently abandoned an important anti-avoidance measure (by allowing deductions under section 25(90) of the Income Tax Assessment Act) in his Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, which was projected to recover $600 million alone.3

Despite the fact that we're losing billions in tax revenue from the top 200 ASX companies each year (over half of them have subsidiaries in offshore tax havens), the Government is still refusing to support this Senate Inquiry into the extent of corporate tax avoidance in Australia.4

Meanwhile, the least well off Australians are being asked to shoulder the biggest burden in the federal Budget – as the Government tries to remove income support for unemployed people, make higher education unaffordable through university fee deregulation, and hit the sick by cutting the Medicare rebate. The double standard is obvious.

We hope that this inquiry will shine a light on both the immoral tax practices of multi-million dollar companies, and on the Government's disappointing inaction to help fix this problem, despite their strong rhetoric.


XX,XXX GetUp members

1.'Audit team checking tax payments by multinational companies hard hit by department job cuts', Sydney Morning Herald, 24 October 2014; 'Why the ATO is losing the battle against the 'transnationals'', Sydney Morning Herald, 2 September 2014.
2.'Australia's stance on tax avoidance out of step, says Bill Shorten', Sydney Morning Herald, 2 November 2014.
3.'Policy of inaction on multinational tax', Sydney Morning Herald, 17 December 2014.
4."Who Pays for Our Commonwealth? Tax Practices of the ASX 200", United Voice and the Tax Justice Network, October 2014; 'The poor face onerous rules while rich corporations avoid tax with impunity', The Monthly, November 2014.