Feeds

Tech giants reject tax dodge name and shame plan

Apple, Google, Microsoft et al speak through Oz industry body

Top three mobile application threats

Australia's plan to name and shame technology companies that use various machinations to reduce the amount of tax they pay down under has been carpeted by the very companies that use such schemes.

Condemnation of the plan has emerged from the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), Australia's peak technology industry body that says it membership includes Apple, EMC, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Oracle. The AIIA has made a submission in response to “Improving the transparency of Australia’s business tax system,” a paper issued by Australia's Department of Treasury and cooked up by the nation's recently-convened Specialist reference group on ways to address tax minimisation of multinational enterprises. The paper suggested naming and shaming organisations that use tax minimisation schemes, not as a punitive measure but as a way to inform Australian individuals and companies about who's a good corporate citizen and who works the system.

On Vulture South's reading of the submission, the AIIA has five objections, namely:

  • It's members already file all the financial paperwork they're required to, and it's already in the public domain;
  • Naming and shaming “has a potentially damaging impact on the preparedness of these companies to continue to invest in and support, as strongly as they currently do, the broader digital economy agenda, continued investment in ICT capability development and innovation in Australia,when in fact they do meet their legal taxation obligations”;
  • Naming and shaming “will cause more confusion and potential concern insofar as it is not clear that comparisons will be comparable and compromise commercial confidentiality”;
  • Australia could “suffer downstream damage should businesses feel maligned and, as a consequence, withdraw from doing business in Australia”.
  • Asking the Australian Taxation Office to name and shame politicises the organisation, which can't be good for the entire Australian system of government.

The AIIA therefore suggests Australia get busy in international gabfests, so it can fix the whole tax avoidance mess in a more holistic fashion than would be possible if a government department did something like point out that Microsoft Australia has Microsoft has long practised a technique called “transfer pricing” that means Australians actually buy from Microsoft Singapore. Australia should also not point out that Google has until this year made losses in Australia despite winning more than $AUD1bn in annual revenue and having a reasonably modest local presence that it's hard to see would have that much in expenses.

That position comes against a background in which a recent parliamentary inquiry into the prices Australians pay for technology products noted that Apple has claimed billions in expenses despite (reportedly) having fewer than 1000 employees and conducting no research and development or manufacturing on Australian shores.

There's no suggestion any of the companies mentioned above do or have ever done anything illegal on the tax front. The morality of their practices is for readers to decide.

You can read the full AIIA submission here (PDF). ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco
Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.