Responding to reports that the Federal Government has deferred its plans for corporate tax cuts, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said:
“The proposed $65 billion hand-out to big business will only fuel a global race to the bottom on corporate tax rates and undermine attempts to tackle inequality and poverty, both in Australia and around the world.
“It defies belief that the Federal Government will push ahead with slashing the corporate tax rate when Australian Taxation Office data shows that more than one in three large Australian companies paid no tax at all in Australia in 2015-16.
“Despite already avoiding their fair share of taxes in Australia, this plan would deliver some of the biggest companies extra tax windfalls – in exchange for no more than a ‘pinky promise’ to invest more in jobs and wage growth.
“Reports this week suggested that as few as one in five big companies would use the tax cut to increase wages or employ more people.
“The failure to get enough support for the proposed tax cuts has granted a reprieve, but it appears the plan will be back on the agenda in May.
“The unjust reality is that in Australia and around the world, large companies are depriving the public of tax revenues that could be used to pay for essential services such as schools, hospitals, roads and public transport.
“The use of tax havens and other loopholes by Australian multinationals is also ripping billions of dollars from public coffers in developing countries, where governments are desperately in need of money to tackle poverty and inequality.
“What Australia should be doing is cracking down further on tax avoidance, including by introducing public country-by-country reporting that requires large companies to declare details of income, taxes paid and profits.
“This delay is a chance for meaningful reforms that could go towards fixing Australia’s broken tax system, rather than stubbornly pushing ahead with a plan that will leave it in a state of greater disrepair by rewarding big business at the expense of growing inequality.”
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