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Australia to have Apple, Google disclose tax arrangements

According to a Reuters story today, Australian officials are planning to have large corporations like Apple and Google disclose their tax arrangements in an attempt to crack down on alleged tax avoidance by multinationals. Australian Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said that the "increasingly borderless global economy means big firms often have no tax liability in a country."

How do corporations manage to avoid paying taxes even in countries where they have a major local presence? Some multinationals have been accused of moving income to countries like Ireland (with a corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent) where tax rates aren't as high as those in Australia (30 percent). The new Australian measures will require about 2,000 companies with annual revenues greater than A$100 million (about US$105 million) to report their tax details to the government for publishing.

Similar measures have been discussed by the Group of 20 wealthy nations to shut down loopholes that are estimated to cause a loss of more than A$1 billion annually in tax revenue in Australia alone.

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