Scale of tax problem here needs confirming

While Peter Dunne might be talking up moves to clamp down on multinational tax avoidance - as other countries are doing - he must first ensure he has a full and comprehensive understanding of the scale of the problem in New Zealand, Labour’s Revenue spokesperson David Clark says.

Mr Dunne was spurred into a flurry of action last week following Labour’s revelations that multinational companies are taking advantage of tax loopholes in New Zealand.

“Peter Dunne did the right thing in rallying officials to report back on how other countries are tackling tax avoidance by companies like Google and Facebook – but he should have been up with the play before he was prompted by Labour.

“Getting a handle on the solutions used offshore is a good first step, but the Minister now needs to ensure he is across the extent of tax avoidance here in New Zealand.

"Everyone, from the Prime Minister to the school cleaner should pay their fair share of tax. Right now, it looks like some of the world's largest companies are not.

“There is already a lot of information available on how other countries are tackling tax avoidance. Australia is on the job, with the recent announcement of a series of measures to address tax-avoidance issues, including a review of transfer pricing rules. Mr Dunne says ours are similar but these things need constant review.

"The Australians are also strengthening general anti-avoidance measures, which will play a  role in countering multi-nationals who seek to defeat Australia’s taxing rights by artificially altering the source or character of profits they generate from economic activity in that country. 

"The Australians are not the only ones taking action. In the past week, Italian police have launched a new investigation into the tax affairs of Google, which the Rome government says has failed to declare revenue totalling more than €240m between 2002 and 2006.

"And yesterday British MPs called on their Government to name and shame multinational corporations not paying their fair share of tax, with some MPs saying it looked increasingly as though corporate tax was becoming a voluntary contribution.

"This is a fast moving area and Mr Dunne needs to keep up. The integrity of the New Zealand tax base is at stake.