Government Could Raise Over $4 Billion From Tax-Avoiding Multinationals

Tonight's budget has unveiled a swathe of multi-national tax avoidance measures, including a diverted profits tax -- commonly known as the "Google Tax" within Australia -- that could potentially capture billions of dollars from Australia's top multi-national companies including Google and Apple.

A new Tax Avoidance Taskforce and Tax Transparency Code have been introduced in the 2016-17 Budget, that will give the Australian Tax Office more power in tracking down and auditing multinational companies that use tax avoidance schemes to offshore profits and avoid Australian taxation on that money. The breach fine for multinationals failing to file tax documents on time, too, will be raised from $4500 to $450,000.

$679 million will be spent strengthening the ATO, and the government expects that to make its investment back quickly with a projected $3.7 billion in tax revenue in the next four years. "More than a thousand specialist staff", according to treasurer Scott Morrison, will be devoted to the task.

SMH reports that the government's renewed corporate tax avoidance crackdown will raise more than Labor's suggested $2 billion campaign, with a new set of legislation passed down in addition to December's first round of multinational anti-avoidance laws.

The first round of measures are expected to bring in as much as $700 million to Australian coffers in the first year. Google Australia has already restructured its local operations to count local ad revenue from its search engine operations, with a $16 million tax bill for the 2015 financial year on revenue of $502 million and profit of $47.2 million.

The government's MYEFO figures say this year's budget estimates a $39.9 billion deficit for the 2016-17 financial year. "This cannot be just another budget, because these are extraordinary times", according to federal government treasurer Scott Morrison.