Wednesday, May 24, 2023

PwC’s $1m PowerPoint presentation all that’s left of robo-debt assessment

 Will the AFP be drawn into PwC tax scandal? | The Business | ABC News

PwC advised Treasury against a tax adviser crackdown

Multinational reporting rules fall flat with business

Large firms could soon be required to release tax information on their operations around the world, and prepare new compliance statements.

Treasury is consulting about country-by-country tax reporting rules for multinational firms, requiring the public release of tax information on their operations around the world, as well as a statement on taxation compliance.

Companies with ties to known tax havens would attract renewed scrutiny under the plan. 

Corporate leaders hate the proposed rules, and have warned they will mean Australia imposes some of the toughest disclosure rules in the world, exceeding requirements already in place in the European Union.

The Business Council of Australia has told the government it is unclear how the rules would lead to a more informed debate about the tax affairs of large companies, given its members already face some of the strongest tax integrity rules anywhere in the world.

In a submission provided to The Australian Financial Review, the BCA said the data would be provided in spreadsheets that would be “impenetrable” for most potential users

Finance introduces new ‘PwC rule’ to force firms to confess sins

Suppliers will now be required to notify federal public servants if their personnel are pinged for bad behaviour, a tightening of rules made in response to the PwC tax leaks scandal.

Rear Window

Myriam Robin

PwC’s $1m PowerPoint presentation all that’s left of robo-debt assessment

Myriam RobinColumnist

Although PwC’s tax scandal might make some of its government clients wary about re-signing, its involvement in the robo-debt scandal can only highlight its loyalty.

In February, PwC’s Shane West couldn’t recallto Catherine Holmes’ robo-debt inquiry how it was that a damning 70-page report on the scheme was never delivered to the government, despite PwC having been paid nearly $1 million to investigate the scheme.

PwC partner Shane West at the robo-debt royal commission.  

Questions on notice lobbed by the Greens show a department equally perplexed. Asked how Services Australia notified PwC that the report was no longer required, whether it received a draft report, or a summary, or had any notes of any of 27 meetings with PwC that took place over a span of three months between Services Australia and PwC, the agency came up empty-handed. No record of communication, no summary of PwC’s findings, and no notes of any of the meetings have been located, according to the response to questions on notice released last week.

PwC did, on May 22 2017, compile an eight-page PowerPoint presentation for Services Australia, which was delivered by three PwC staff to three departmental officers over 60 minutes. Labelled “cabinet-in-confidence”, it has previously been tendered to Holmes’ commission, which has yet to deliver its findings.

Greens senator Barbara Pocock has labelled the saga illustrative of “the hazards of relying on consultants to give critical advice to government”. Assistant Treasury Minister Andrew Leigh has since unveiled a $10 million Treasury evaluation unit to assess government programs.

Not that Services Australia seemed to have any complaints with PwC’s work. It gave the firm contracts worth $12 million in the years that followed.

Myriam Robin is a Rear Window columnist based in the Financial Review's Melbourne newsroom. Connect with Myriam on Twitter. Email Myriam at

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