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Australia To Pursue Seven MNEs Under New Anti-Avoidance Law

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong
Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Australian Government has announced that the tax office has assessed AUD2.9m (USD2.2m) in tax liabilities against a group of seven multinational companies.

According to Treasurer Scott Morrison and Revenue Minister Kelly O'Dwyer, the Australia Tax Office (ATO) is currently auditing 59 multinational corporations and hundreds of other companies to determine whether they are compliant with Australia's taxation laws, including the new Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL).

The ATO expects to conclude at least seven major multinational audits before the end of June, with four of these investigations covering e-commerce and three the energy and resource industries. The ATO has confirmed that it has so far this year issued AUD2.9bn in tax liabilities due from multinational enterprises.

The ATO recently met with 175 affected taxpayers or their advisors regarding their structures and compliance with the requirements of the MAAL. The Ministers said the ATO is aware of 25 taxpayers who have restructured or intend to restructure their arrangements in response to the MAAL and make payments to the ATO.

The MAAL came into effect on January 1, 2016. It applies to multinationals operating in Australia with global revenues of more than AUD1bn, and requires companies that "avoid" taxes to pay back double what they owe, plus interest.

Morrison said: "Our multinational tax laws are having an impact and we now have one of the toughest, if not the toughest, anti-avoidance tax regimes in the world. Multinational companies are being put on notice."