Once again Fairfax journalists are showing how little they know about tax.
Recently, the master of the tax mistake, Michael West, wrote about some recent tax amendments that have been blocked in the Parliament…
The second is an amendment to compel multinational companies to file, as do their Australian-listed peers, proper financial statements, and not the niggardly “Special Purpose” reports with which they disguise vital information about their tax affairs.
Michael, the Commissioner does not need or want General Purpose Accounts. He has access powers that means he can request taxpayers to send him details of every single transaction. So, if the Commissioner can see everything taxpayers do without having to look at General Purpose Accounts, why would taxpayer’s not want to produce General Purpose Account, which you claim “disguise vital information about their tax affairs”? These General Purpose Accounts are not “vital to the Commissioner in reviewing the tax affairs of these taxpayers so who is this tax information “vital” to.
Michael and his tax novices at Fairfax think this is vital, not to ensure the correct amount of tax is collected, as the Commissioner already has all the information to make this happen. It is only “vital” to Michael, as, up until now, almost everything he has claimed in his reporting of corporate taxation is wrong, and he hopes with this information he might get a bit closer to the truth.
If you think that is hard, Michael was the head reporter of the “Tax Justice Network” report that claimed there was $8 billion a year of unpaid corporate tax. When the head of tax policy at the Treasury was asked about this report and its repotting in the media, his words were measured. But if you watch it on YouTube you can see he is struggling not to laugh at the start and struggling not to show what a waste of time this is at the end. When this is the response of the most senior policy wonk in the Government in the area you know you are way off the mark.
On radio Michael has gone further. He states that not only should these companies provide ASIC with more information, but rather than having to pay ASIC to access these account, anyone (especially lazy journalists who won’t invest time into understanding the area they are writing on) should be able to download these account for free. THERE IS NO WAY THIS WILL INCREASE THE TAX COLLECTED BY THESE COMPANIES SO WHY DOES MICHAEL WANT THESE CHANGES?
The tax law does not exist to help journalists Michael…