25th October 2022
CICTAR welcomes the commitment by the Australian government, announced today as part of the federal budget, to introduce greater tax transparency for multinational corporations operating in Australia. The expected Australian legislation to require mandatory public Country-by-Country reporting (CbCR) will have global implications when implemented on 1st July 2023.
Done properly, public CbCR would require large multinationals to report key financial information in every country, including earnings, profits, losses, number of staff, and taxes paid in each country. Everyone, everywhere would have access to the same information on the way that multinationals manage tax obligations, including governments in low-income countries, shareholders, journalists, workers and campaigners. This information is currently shared in strict confidence with OECD tax authorities, but all others have been kept in the dark, until now.
To achieve the full benefits of public CbCR, it is vital that the legislation will require corporations to report to a specifically designed international standard. Ideally, this should be the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Tax Standard. CICTAR was instrumental in getting investors to support the GRI Tax Standard and has supported ground-breaking shareholder resolutions to require tax transparency at Amazon, Microsoft and Cisco.
Jason Ward, Principal Analyst, CICTAR (Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability & Research), said:
“The Australian government is showing global leadership. Public country by country reporting for multinationals is long overdue. Increased transparency and other multinational tax reforms will encourage an end to abusive tax schemes – which deprive governments of revenue to fund essential public services – and begin to level the playing field for local businesses that pay a fair share and contribute to communities where profits are generated.”
CICTAR has been working with allies in Australia, and across the world, to expose how global corporations minimise tax payments through artificial structures. Our work has helped to shift the narrative on tax in Australia and opened the door to this forthcoming precedent setting reform.
CICTAR has delivered detailed case studies of corporations operating in the adult care sector; in the oil, gas and mining sectors; and corporations with large government contracts for consultancy, labour hire and IT services. We have worked closely with allies such as the Tax Justice Network – Australia and trade unions, especially those with members delivering publicly funded services. CICTAR’s work has helped to align the interests of the labour and tax justice movements and mobilise investors and shareholders in support of greater tax transparency.
Our most recent report on Microsoft, examines the global tax structures of the tech giant, and aims to build shareholder support to require implementation of the GRI tax standard at the annual meeting in mid-December. Earlier this year, more than one-fifth of Amazon’s independent shareholders voted to support the same shareholder resolution for tax transparency.