The New Zealand government Friday unveiled plans to crack down on multinationals that profit from exploiting tax loopholes.

Three consultation papers proposed new measures in line with international recommendations to strengthen the taxing of large multinationals, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Revenue Minister Judith Collins said in a statement.

“Our broad-based low rate tax system continues to perform very well for New Zealand overall. However it’s important that it keeps evolving to ensure that all companies operating in New Zealand pay their fair share of tax,” said Joyce.

“The proposals in these documents are in line with the recommendations from the OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) base erosion and profit-shifting (BEPS) project which has developed best practice measures for the global response to BEPS.”

The documents contained proposals for tackling concerns about multinationals booking profits from New Zealand sales offshore, even though the sales were driven by New Zealand-based staff; preventing multinationals using interest payments to shift profits offshore; and implementing New Zealand’s entrance into an international convention for aligning its double tax agreements with OECD recommendations.

“We welcome multinationals’ participation in our economy, but we also expect them to pay tax based on their actual levels of economic activity in New Zealand,” Collins said.

Earlier Friday, Collins told Radio New Zealand that up to 300 million NZ dollars (211.77 million U.S. dollars) a year in tax was being lost through multinationals seeking to avoid paying taxes – a significant amount given that companies paid about 10 billion NZ dollars (7.06 billion U.S. dollars) in total.

Opposition lawmakers welcomed the move, but said the proposals should have greater consideration of a diverted profits tax (DPT), a penalty on companies that artificially diverted profits.

Australia and Britain have already implemented DPTs, and Collins told Radio New Zealand that the government had not ruled it out.

However, it also wanted to investigate an alternative approach of targeting “permanent establishment avoidance.”

This involved companies and non-residents that structured their affairs to avoid a taxable “permanent establishment” in a country, even when a de facto permanent establishment existed.

The OECD backed plans for a crackdown on multinational tax avoidance after a wave of global protests against big companies including Facebook, Apple and Google, when it was revealed they were paying negligible taxes on massive turnovers.

Submissions on the consultation documents would close next month and ministers said they would consider final proposals arising from the documents later in the year. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/


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