Google, Apple and Microsoft are among dozens of top multinational companies that will appear before an Australian Senate inquiry in Sydney on Wednesday regarding international company tax avoidance in Australia.
United Voice, which represents workers in industries including cleaning and hospitality, said nearly a third of the top 200 companies have an effective tax rate of 10 percent or less, and that contributes to a loss of up to 8.4 billion Australian dollars (6.42 billion U.S. dollars) in revenue.
The union's national secretary David O'Byrne told the inquiry that a report last week showed that the top 900 companies pay, on average, an effective tax rate of around 19 percent, less than the average Australian worker."
O'Byrne said the Federal Government can tackle the problem by applying compulsory country-by-country reporting for all Australian-listed companies.
"And disclosure of all subsidiaries including an explanation of the purpose of those located in tax havens and also, importantly, ensuring that the Australian Tax Office is adequately funded and staffed to do their work," he said.
However the Corporate Tax Association has dismissed claims that the world's biggest corporations were trying to minimize tax.
In its submission to the Senate inquiry, it "objects to views that paint a picture that the Australian corporate tax system is fundamentally flawed and that corporate taxpayers in Australia are inappropriately minimizing their tax bills".
It said that the public was given the wrong idea about how much the tax big companies paid, and this in turn damaged the reputation of the nation's tax system.
"Harming the confidence the community has in the integrity of our tax system without any sound basis seriously risks damaging our revenue base."
"When ordinary Australians are misled into thinking that large business plays fast and loose with the rules to avoid meeting their legitimate tax obligations, this is bound to have a negative impact on the high levels of voluntary compliance which have been a feature of our tax system for many years," the association said in its submission.