Govt has no idea how much tax multinationals are avoiding

The National Government has admitted it has no idea of the amount of tax it is missing out on from multinational companies that are avoiding paying their fair share of tax, the Green Party said today.

Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse was unable to answer questions in the House today from James Shaw on the amount of lost tax revenue from multinational companies. Herald investigative reporter Matt Nippert estimated the amount of missing tax could be close to $500 million per year while tax expert, Professor Craig Elliffe, told National Radio the amount could be closer to $1 billion.

“The Government has no idea how much multinational companies are ripping us off by avoiding paying their fair share of taxes,” said Green Party Co-Leader James Shaw.

“The National Government’s see no evil, hear no evil approach, means big international companies have been free to avoid paying some taxes. That’s not fair on ordinary Kiwis and businesses who have to pay ours.

“Other countries, including Australia and the UK, have moved to stanch the loss of tax revenues unilaterally and in harmony with the direction the OECD is taking. New Zealand can too.

“IRD warned the Government in 2013 that tax avoidance by multinationals was a big problem. Today, it’s clear the Government can’t – or won’t – say just how big the problem is.                                                                                                                                                                               

“I would have thought the most important thing a Minister of Finance could be doing right now is finding a way to stop the loss of hundreds-of-millions of tax dollars offshore,” Mr Shaw said.

Link to Question transcript:
http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/business/qoa/51HansQ_20160329_00000004...

 

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