Treasurer Scott Morrison insists Australia is already ahead of the curve in implementing measures to combat tax avoidance by multinationals.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development released recommendations to counter international tax dodging this week – the product of a two-year, G20-commissioned project.
Mr Morrison welcomed the report, saying the government is committed to ensuring companies that earn income in Australia and benefit from the economy, pay their fair share of domestic tax.
“Australia has already been ahead of the curve on these recommendations,” he told reporters in Sydney during a joint press conference with tax commissioner Chris Jordan.
As part of this process, the Treasurer will release draft legislation to extend the GST to digital products later on Wednesday.
In one of his final acts as then-Treasurer, Joe Hockey last month introduced to parliament multinational anti-avoidance laws that included stronger penalties for those evading their tax obligations.
Mr Jordan believes there is no advantage in naming and shaming companies that try to dodge their taxes.
“I am focussed on outcomes and I think that’s where we should direct our attention,” he said.
The Australian Taxation Office already had been approached by some large companies looking to restructure their tax arrangements in the wake of the government’s new tax avoidance rules, he said.
But the commissioner remains reluctant to put a figure on how much additional revenue this will garner, other than saying billions of dollars of sales are booked overseas from activities that occur in Australia.
On the broader tax system, Mr Morrison has labelled it an “accountant’s picnic”.
The system wasn’t meant to just “suck money out of people’s pockets”, but rather grow the economy, he told ABC radio earlier.
But when asked whether there were any plans to offer income tax cuts at the next election, Mr Morrison said he wouldn’t be rushing into any of the issues surrounding tax reform.