Domingo, 18 Noviembre, 2018

Labour threatens punitive tax on multinationals

Labour's revenue spokesperson Michael Wood Labour's revenue spokesperson Michael Wood
Irune Rengel | 18 Julio, 2017, 06:22

Multinational companies operating in New Zealand have been warned a Labour-led government will crack down on those that aren't paying their fair share of tax.

Little also released an open letter written to multinational companies in which he invites them to a round-table meeting immediately after the September 23 election, assuming Labour wins power.

That could include introducing a "diverted profits tax" so IRD could impose tax at a penalty rate if it believed that tax had been deliberately avoided.

Tax expert Michael Littlewood said there was no prospect large global firms would withdraw from New Zealand if it introduced a diverted profit tax as Australia and the United Kingdom had.

"The fact is, many multinationals are ducking their tax obligation and leaving it to Kiwi taxpayers to foot the bill".

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"Even just by enacting the law, they immediately got multinationals to start paying tax", he said.

He told Morning Report an extra $200 million a year could be collected, which would make a "huge difference" and represented "a heap of teachers, a heap of nurses and doctors". "At a time when we need to urgently invest in hospitals, schools and housing, we need multinationals to make their fair contribution too", Little said.

"New Zealanders are missing out by hundreds of millions, according to the IRD, because multinational companies can hide their profits in complicated worldwide schemes", Mr Little said in a statement.

"The government's performance on multinational tax is pathetic".

"They'll stay here, but we need to get them to pay their way".

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The Government's moves were part of the OECD's worldwide base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) drive aimed at clamping down on multinational tax avoidance.

Inland Revenue began consulting in March on new measures to stamp out tax rorts.

Little is writing to up to 50 multinational companies operating in New Zealand, including the 20 companies identified in a Herald investigation into which companies paid virtually no tax in New Zealand because they or their New Zealand subsidiaries shifted profits out of the country.

In his letter to the companies, Mr Little tells them: "The next Labour-led government will welcome all global investment that genuinely creates jobs and wealth, but we will not support exploitative investment such as property speculation or companies that shirk their responsibilities to contribute to the cost of a decent society". "I invite you to attend this meeting and work together to ensure New Zealand is a fair place to operate and a great place to live", he said in his letter to the big multinationals, which he released to the media.

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