Australia, Britain to take on firms avoiding taxes

GMT 05:13 2015 Sunday ,19 April

Arab Today, arab today Australia, Britain to take on firms avoiding taxes

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (L)
Sydney - AFP

Australia is to work together with Britain to pursue multinational firms shifting profits offshore to avoid paying taxes, going "further and faster" than OECD plans, Treasurer Joe Hockey said on Sunday.

Hockey, who was in the United States for the G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers, said the two nations announced a joint working group during the multilateral forum in Washington on April 16-17 that would build on London's so-called "Google tax" on companies that divert profits overseas.

The new initiative came amid increased efforts by governments around the world, including Australia, to crack down on global firms that use complex corporate structures to lower their tax bills.

"The OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), through its base erosion and profit-shifting programme, is trying to set up consistent global definitions and rules in relation to companies," Hockey told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"We are going for the next stage, which is to go after those companies, particularly individual companies, that are not paying the proper amount of tax where they earn the income.

"We obviously want to go further and faster (than the OECD)," the treasurer added, without elaborating on what measures were being considered.

The working group would be established after Britain's general election on May 7.

Australian parliamentarians grilled global technology and mining giants including Apple, Google, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto at an upper house Senate hearing earlier this month on their tax structures.

The firms said they had paid the taxes they owed under the country's laws.

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