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Government to support Greens amendments on corporate tax avoidance

Media Release
Adam Bandt 3 Dec 2015

A standoff between the Turnbull Government and the Senate over multinational tax avoidance will be resolved this morning with the Government's agreement to support new amendments from the Greens.

The Government's Tax Laws Amendment (Combating Multinational Tax Avoidance) Bill 2015 will pass with two extra measures to combat tax avoidance:

One will force multinational corporations with global revenue of $1 billion or more to prepare "general purpose" financial statements, instead of flimsy and secretive "special purpose" statements. This amendment was originally rejected by Treasurer Scott Morrison when it was sent to the House of Representatives last week.

The second will end an exemption for private companies with revenue over $200 million from having to disclose their tax affairs. It will expose the 281 largest companies previously shielded by the government's Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (Better Targeting the Income Tax Transparency Laws) Bill 2015 - otherwise known as the 'kidnap law.'

"This is a huge win for tax transparency. If we hadn't got this bill passed today, multinational companies would have enjoyed another full year of not having to disclose their tax on a country-by-country basis," said Greens Leader Richard Di Natale.

"We had a choice to either criticise from the sidelines and let multinational tax avoiders off the hook, or pass laws that force much greater tax transparency. The Greens chose action.

"It was unacceptable for the government to help Australia's most profitable companies hide their tax affairs, when we know increasing tax transparency is one of the most important ways to minimise tax avoidance.

"Every Australian wins when we make big companies pay their tax. That's money that funds our schools, hospitals and the services people deserve.

"Instead of cutting family payments and trying to increase the GST, the Turnbull Government has to work harder to collect the tax dollars owed to Australia.

"Today we've opened up a crack of light into these dodgy practices, but there's much more to be done, and the Greens will keep going until these huge companies pay their fair share" Senator Di Natale said.

Greens finance spokesperson Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said:

"The Grandfathering provisions put in place by the Labor Party are unacceptable and today's result will help build momentum to consign them to the scrap heap. Through this outcome, some companies currently shielded will have to disclose their arrangements and those missed by the net will come under more pressure once higher levels of transparency becomes the norm.

"In the new year the Greens will work with Labor and the cross-bench to bring the remaining Grandfathering provisions before a Senate Inquiry. I want to hear the arguments from those who remain on the list as to why their tax affairs should be protected from the public gaze."

Greens treasury spokesperson Adam Bandt MP said, ""The Greens believe tax reform must start at the top, not the bottom."


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