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Issue #1803      November 15, 2017

Job cuts and tax dodgers

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) says the Tax Office must have its staffing levels restored and new laws enacted to tackle the scourge of tax evasion by multinational corporations and mega-wealthy individuals.

The union’s call has been made in the wake of reports of fresh details contained in the Paradise Papers, highlighting the continuing problem with rich and powerful interests using offshore tax havens and complex accounting arrangements to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

CPSU assistant national secretary Michael Tull said: “The shady world of tax dodging uncovered through the Paradise Papers unfortunately comes as no surprise to hardworking CPSU members in the Tax Office. They’re well aware of the multi-billion dollar scale of this problem.

“It’s not good enough that multinational companies like Glencore are earning massive profits in Australia and then doing everything they can to avoid paying tax, or that massively wealthy celebrities and executives think it’s acceptable to dodge paying their fair share of tax.”

The union says the Tax Office staff are doing tremendous work investigating tax dodgers, helped by the information contained in leaks like the Paradise and Panama Papers, but there’s no doubt the ATO has been undermined by the 4,700 jobs cut under the Turnbull government and the Coalition’s refusal to change the rules so everyone contributes fairly to the services needed.

The Turnbull government spent millions of dollars on a glossy TV advertising campaign trying to convince Australians that it’s solved the problem of multinational companies and mega-rich individuals not paying their fair share of tax. The Paradise Papers make it pretty clear that’s not the case.

“The reality is the government has made this problem worse by slashing jobs and relying more and more heavily on labour hire and outsourcing,” Michael Tull pointed out. “To make matters worse, some of the private operators like Serco are paying little or no tax in Australia themselves.

“The government’s been reluctant to crack down on tax evasion by the mega-rich but all too ready to make deep and unsustainable cuts to the critical public services that all Australians rely on, including Medicare, Centrelink and many more.

“The government can easily afford to provide the world-class services people deserve if it makes everyone pay their fair share of tax. To do that the government must restore the staff and resources cut from the Tax Office and change the rules so our tax system is fair to everyone.”

Next article – A Nobel Prize for a return to reality?

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