Friday, 13 February 2015

Australian Billionaire Gerry Harvey Accuses Tax Lobbyists Of Pushing Multinational Companies Interests

Australian retail billionaire Gerry Harvey slammed the country’s powerful business lobby groups for pushing the interests of profit-shifting multinational corporations ahead of Australian companies. Harvey said companies that pay their fair share in taxes have no voice in government.
The billionaire retailer spoke after it was publicly revealed that Apple Inc only paid $80 million in tax to Australia despite earning $6 billion in local revenues. Without mentioning a specific company, Harvey said “a lot of lobbying” has been happening. He added that multinational companies have many lobbyists in Canberra in an effort to present their case.
Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Harvey Norman franchise owner is one of the few business leaders in the country to speak out against corporate tax avoidance. Harvey said both Australian-owned and foreign multinational companies are more interested in weakening tax laws so they avoid paying high taxes. He believes it was unfair for local companies to pay the right amount of tax while foreign companies don’t.
A spokesman for the Business Council of Australia said there were certain risks if it acted alone against the practice of shifting profits. The council recommended taking caution and acting based on evidence to ensure competitiveness will not be diminished. He said unless a multinational agreement is in place, Australia can continue to enforce its tax laws which many believe are some of the “toughest” in the world.
Michelle DeNiese, executive director of the Corporate Tax Association, shares the same view with Harvey. She said multinational companies should be able to pay their own fair share of tax. DeNiese spoke out against the view that Australia’s corporate tax system is “fundamentally flawed.”
Despite having 15 retail stores in Ireland and Singapore, Harvey claimed he has never used them to shift profits. Harvey Norman has paid higher taxes than Apple in 2014 with $89 million compared to the Cupertino-based company’s $80 million, according to accounts filed with the corporate regulator.
Meanwhile, Kate Carnell, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told SmartCompany that Harvey’s comments were disappointing. She said the ACCI has been lobbying for the government to address issues of large corporations that have the option to pay taxes wherever they choose.
This news story is reprinted from au.ibtimes.com
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