Our Tax system is broken - ACTU Australian Unions
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Our Tax system is broken

About

Australia’s wage growth is at a record low, but the Government wants to give a $65 billion dollar tax cut to big business. Big business has too much power, and this is just more special treatment from the Government. Many businesses already thumb their noses at paying their taxes, exploiting loopholes to offshore profits made in Australia. This is ripping off money that should be going to our schools and hospitals.

The Issue

In 2014-2015 the top 10 companies that paid no tax at all had a combined revenue of $33 billion.

In a single year, between these 10 companies, we have lost more than $660 million in taxes. On top of this the Tax Office is currently suing Chevron for more than $1 billion in unpaid taxes dating back to 2012. Every billion dollars in avoided tax could pay for an extra 6,500 nurses, teachers and paramedics, another 17 new high schools or a 400 bed hospital.

How do they get away with it?

Companies have a stunning array of tactics for sending profits overseas. They exploit loopholes. They divert profits. They use profit shifting techniques.

Companies, like Chevron, will load up an Australian arm with debt (from a loan within their company) so that they’re never making a profit. Companies also exploit allowable tax deductions to avoid paying tax. 

The 48 millionaires who pay no tax

It’s not only corporations that get away with it. Wealthy and greedy individuals are not paying what they should contribute, which further robs us all. In 2014-2015, 48 Australian millionaires paid no tax – not even the Medicare levy - 19 spent over $1 million each on lawyers and accountants to “manage their tax affairs”.

• All paid $0 in tax.
• Had an average income of $2.46 million a year but declared to the tax office a taxable income of a combined negative $13.9 million.
• Did not pay the Medicare Levy.
• Twenty Eight made nearly $70 million in combined deductions, with 19 spending over $1 million each on “managing their tax affairs”.
• Eight used negative gearing to deduct a combined $1.5 million from their tax bill.
• One still owes a HELP debt despite being a millionaire.
• Four didn’t even have private health insurance and didn’t pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge

More tax cuts for corporations and millionaires

And yet Malcom Turnbull wants to cut the tax companies have to pay, with a $65 billion tax cut for corporations. This corporate handout would reduce the tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent. The Commonwealth Bank stands to benefit by $1 billion; our biggest miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Woodside will share in $1.8 billion; and Coles and Woolworths will share in $281 million. That’s wrong.

For rich people, the Turnbull Government has handed those earning over $180,000 an income tax cut, while everyone else’s taxes increase.

We need a level playing field 

The rich have too much power and get too much special treatment.

It’s not right that companies like BHP, Qantas, Boeing, Google, and Goldman Sachs earn billions in profits and pay no tax whatsoever, while our communities are in dire need of more teachers, nurses and doctors, and our vulnerable and unemployed are demonised by the Government.

Australia needs a fairer and more progressive tax system. It’s time to stop working people being ripped off. We need to close the loopholes, crack down on companies and individuals who flaunt the rules and make sure the money gets into our schools and hospitals.

Unions are fighting for a fairer tax system. Join your union and change the rules.

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 PDF version of this factsheet

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