Friday, December 09, 2016

Why don't we do this here?

The Australian Taxation Office has released its annual corporate tax transparency report, showing that a third of large companies in Australia paid no tax:

More than a third of large public and private companies paid no tax in 2014-15, according to data released by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

The ATO's latest corporate tax transparency report showed 36 per cent of large firms had zero tax payable in 2014-15.

The entities covered by the report are public and foreign firms with an income of $100 million or more and companies privately owned by Australian residents with an income of $200 million-plus.


Resources and energy had the greatest proportion of firms that did not pay any tax, at just under 60 per cent, while almost 40 per cent of manufacturers also paid nothing.

There may be good reasons why these supposedly large and profitable companies aren't paying tax (most obviously: they may not in fact be profitable). And thanks to the facts being published, we'll probably get to hear them - these companies will be forced to explain themselves to the public as well as their shareholders.

Which invites the question: why don't we do this here? The Commissioner of IRD can release information if it will enhance public confidence in the integrity of the tax system, and this sort of release definitely does (or will, once companies start fearing it). So why don't they?