Transparency International Australia (TIA) welcomes the Australian Labor Party’s (ALP) commitment to national tax system reform and strengthened integrity framework. In a recent media release from MP Andrew Leigh, A Fairer Tax System for Millions, Not Millionaires, the ALP pledges to “restore integrity to the Australian tax system and increase enforcement and civil society oversight” via a proposed nine-point Fairer Tax System plan.
Serena Lillywhite, CEO of Transparency International Australia said “The Fairer Tax System plan is much more than taxation reform. It can help tackle illicit financial flows and money laundering, and strengthen Australia’s integrity framework through identifying who the real owners of companies are.”
TIA has played an integral role in pushing for the 15 ambitious transparency and accountability commitments for business, government, and civil society highlighted in the Open Governments Partnership National Action Plan, as well as petitioning for strengthened whistleblower protection. TIA is confident the new ALP fairer tax plan will help achieve these goals.
Linked to TIA’s work on whistleblower protection, public reporting, disclosure and accountability, TIA endorses the below five points from the nine the ALP has proposed:
2. Public reporting of country-by-country reports. High-level tax information about where and how much tax was paid by large corporations (over $1 billion in global revenue) will be released publicly.
3. Whistleblower protection and rewards. Provide protection for whistleblowers who report on entities evading tax to the Australian Taxation Office. Where whistleblowers’ information results in more tax being paid, allow them to collect a share of the tax penalty (a reward of up to $250,000).
4. Mandatory shareholder reporting of tax haven exposure. Companies must disclose to shareholders as a ‘Material Tax Risk’ if the company is doing business in a tax haven.
5. Public reporting of Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) data. Require the annual public release of international cash flow data.
8. Publicly accessible registry of the beneficial ownership of Australian listed companies. This will allow everyone to find out who owns our firms. Shareholders should not be able to use complex structures and sham ownership to avoid complying with corporate transparency rules.
TIA CEO Serena Lillywhite
M: +61 403 436 896