Friday, 23 October 2015

Mulitnational anti-avoidance Bill progresses

On 19 October, the multinational anti-avoidance ‘law' (the MAAL) passed the House of Representatives. The MAAL is ‘law' because, given the political pressure applied, it is difficult to see any substantive changes being made to the measure.

The Bill containing the MAAL, country-by-country reporting and stronger penalties for significant global entities, is now being considered by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee and our recent submission to that Committee can be found here. Despite the Senate inquiry being on foot, the major political parties appear to have agreed to the passage of the Bill.

The Institute has long called for a multilateral approach on international tax issues. Others have argued that a multilateral approach is too slow. This ‘slowness' is due to the painstaking negotiations between sovereign states that underlie our treaty network. Such discussions are essential to tackling multinational tax avoidance without alienating our major trading partners.

The need for swift unilateral action is also questionable given that the gain to revenue from the MAAL is unquantified. The real revenue winner from this measure might be transfer pricing specialists.


Thilini Wickramasuriya FTI is a Tax Counsel of The Tax Institute.

The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.