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Australia Amends Tax Transparency Law

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

16 October 2015

The Australian Senate has passed legislation that will remove the obligation of the Commissioner of Taxation to publish certain tax information regarding Australian private-owned companies.

Under section 3C of the Taxation Administration Act 1953, the Commissioner is required to publish select information for every corporate tax entity that reports AUD100m (USD73m) or more of total income. They must publish the entity's name and Australian Business Number (ABN), total income, taxable income or net income (if any), and income tax payable.

Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer said: "This would have posed a risk to their position in the market by making key economic information on these firms available to competitors and suppliers. This information could have affected the privacy and personal security of the ultimate owners of around 800 Australian owned private companies. The Government has now made a sensible amendment to correct this position."

The Senate passed the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (Better Targeting the Income Tax Transparency Laws) Bill 2015 on October 15.

"The Australian Taxation Office has comprehensive powers to obtain all the information it requires to properly assess the tax liabilities of companies. The public disclosure of tax information law will continue to apply to multinational enterprises operating in Australia and Australian public companies. Importantly, the Government has been clear that every company must pay the correct amount of tax and has acted to tighten the thin capitalization laws and introduced new legislation to tackle tax avoidance by large multinational groups," O'Dwyer added.

TAGS: compliance | tax | business | tax compliance | tax avoidance | law | Australia | tax authority | legislation | transfer pricing | BEPS

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