On track with OECD tax rules: Morrison

Treasurer Scott Morrison believes a new report shows Australia is already on the right track when it comes to ensuring multinationals pay their fair share of tax.


The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released the final recommendations of its two-year, G20 commissioned base erosion and profit-shifting project, otherwise known as BEPS, on Monday.

It aims to claw back as much as $US240 billion ($A338.72 billion) in lost revenue each year through dodgy tax practices across the globe.

Mr Morrison says the government has been working in partnership with the OECD and through its leadership of the G20 on measures to combat multinational tax avoidance.

“This government is committed to ensuring companies that earn income in Australia and benefit from the Australian economy, pay their fair share of tax here,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

Shadow treasurer Andrew Leigh said Mr Morrison now has a blueprint to take practical steps to fix the loopholes in the tax system.

Next month’s G20 leaders summit in Turkey will decide on a timeline for implementing the plan.

“(Prime Minister) Malcolm Turnbull should push for its rapid and complete implementation across the OECD and stand firm against efforts to water it down or delay it,” Dr Leigh said.

The BEPS measures include new minimum standards for country-by-country reporting, which will give tax administrators a global picture of operations of multinational enterprises for the first time.

Tax consultant at BDO Zara Ritchie says the OECD should be commended for its recommendations.

“But whether this constitutes a game changing moment depends on each country,” she told AAP.

David Watkins, a partner at Deloitte, says existing rules can no longer cope with the globalised, digitised, innovative economy of the 21st century.

The changes will have major impacts on governments, multinational corporations, their management, boards of directors, professional advisers and tax authorities globally.

“Collectively, the international tax system will be made significantly more robust,” he said.

But head of tax at EY Australia Craig Robson wants a considered approach by Australia, saying any new rules must be clear to limit any disruption to businesses operating across borders and don’t result in unintended consequences.

“It is also almost certain that the volume and complexity of the change involved in these recommendations will create uncertainty and increase the risk of tax disputes,” he told AAP.