Australia hits multinationals with large tax bills using new anti-avoidance law

Australia has assessed seven multinational corporations with tax liabilities totaling AUS $2.9 billion (~USD 2.2 billion), Treasurer Scott Morrison and Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer announced in a April 6 joint statement.

The audits were previously disclosed, but the total dollar amount assessed was not. The action involves four multinational firms in the e-commerce sector and three in the energy and resource industries.

A 1,000-person ATO task force now has 71 tax audits underway in the large business sector involving 59 multinational corporations to ensure compliance with Australia’s new Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL) and other tax laws.

The officials said the ATO knows of at least 25 taxpayers who have restructured or intend to restructure their arrangements in response to the MAAL and make additional tax payments to the ATO.

Moreover, the ATO has recently met with 175  taxpayers or their advisors to discuss tax structures to ensure they are compliant with the MAAL requirements, the officials 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,” Morrison said.

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