Google and Facebook now paying full tax in Australia, says government treasurer

Treasurer Scott Morrison told the Australian parliament that the changes to the tax system will raise an extra 2bn Australian dollars

Zlata Rodionova
Tuesday 21 March 2017 10:35
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A new law targets global companies with annual incomes of more than AU$1bn
A new law targets global companies with annual incomes of more than AU$1bn

Tech giants Google and Facebook are now paying taxes in Australia based on revenues made in the country, instead of shifting income abroad to low-tax countries, the government has said.

Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison told the Australian parliament that the changes to the tax system will raise an extra 2bn Australian dollars ($1.5bn; £1.2bn) in this tax year from multinational firms, AP reports.

The law, dubbed the "Google Tax," targets global companies with annual incomes exceeding AU$1bn.

Mr Morrison said the government had given the Australian Taxation Office "the power, the resources and the penalties to get the job done".

"Facebook ... are now booking their Australian revenue in Australia, not in Ireland," he said, adding the multinational firms were abandoning contrived structures and restructuring their models to show sales booked in Australia.

When the law was proposed in early 2015, the government said there were 30 global corporations that paid little or no tax on the profits from their Australian operations.

Global firms are continuing to route billions of euro in profit to and through Ireland to avoid tax, according to a recent report by Oxfam Ireland.

Multinationals, including Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Google, have their European headquarters in Ireland, which has a 12.5 per cent headline rate of corporate income tax – the second-lowest in the EU.

European authorities have recently become much more aggressive in their approach to the agreements struck between multinational companies and EU member states.

Last month, EU finance ministers agreed on new measures to close some tax loopholes that have enabled multinational companies operating in both EU and non-EU countries to avoid paying taxes, according to Reuters.

The new rules, due to go into effect in 2020 are meant to tackle so-called “hybrid mismatches” used by corporations to reduce their overall tax liability. Hybrid mismatches help companies shift profits from high-tax jurisdictions to low-tax jurisdictions by various accounting tricks, such as “transfer mispricing”, Reuters reported.

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