Thursday, February 14, 2019

One in nine US multinationals fail to comply with tax transparency law

Taking on tax avoidance: a plan to end tax avoidance in the extractive resources sector
Tax avoidance by major multinationals is costing Australians billions of dollars every year. The report tables a 10 point plan for strengthening Australia’s anti-tax avoidance regime. Measures proposed  include: adopting public Country-by-Country Reporting, which would require multinationals to disclose all subsidiaries and the jurisdictions they operate in, as well as information about the taxes they have paid;  & mandatory disclosure for extractive companies would see extractive companies required to publish their payments to all levels of government.

Vias FAS: “The CIA has around 140 projects involving or related to artificial intelligence, CRS noted (citing a 2017 story in DefenseOne). See Artificial Intelligence and National Security, updated January 30, 2019.”

One in nine US multinationals fail to comply with tax transparency law
Analysis of more than 600 US multinational corporations has revealed that 12% failed to comply with UK law requiring them to publish their tax strategies. The UK is estimated to lose £25 billion in corporate tax revenue each year due to multinational corporations shifting profits out of the country.

Top 40 Tax Dodgers
BG International (Aus) Pty Limited has been renamed QGC Upstream Holdings Pty Ltd. It was taken over by oil major Shell in 2016 and despite its $9.7 billion in gas sales over four years, pays no tax.

Australian bank customers caught in valuation firm data breach

The fallout from a massive data breach at valuation company LandMark White has deepened with National Australia Bank suspending its use of the firm.
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Agerevealed on Tuesday that up to 100,000 customers had personal information including property valuations, phone numbers and dates of birth leaked as part of the data breach at LandMark White

The Commonwealth Bank is urgently investigating a potential data breach that may have given its 

Former tax man didn't want son involved with the 'wrong kind of people', court hears

Jury retires in Michael Cranston trial | Newcastle Herald

ATO set to crack down on lawyers

The Australian Taxation Office is planning to launch legal action — potentially including criminal prosecutions for fraud — against lawyers at top-tier firms who ...
TAX was left alone in last week's financial services royal commission final report, but future
changes loom large in the minds of millions of Australians. The upcoming federal election has already become a tax battleground

Pharma kickbacks stay under the radar - The Australian
More than a third of the money spent by pharmaceutical companies promoting drugs to doctors, healthcare providers and consumer groups may have gone unreported after changes to Australia’s system of self-regulation. An analysis of more than 900 transparency reports found a 34.1% reduction in spending disclosed by companies in industry body Medicines Australia.

Mind the (Tax) Gap—It’s Bigger Than You Probably Think!
TTPI, 5 February 2019. Release of the ATO’s gap research findings for ‘individuals not in business’ also demonstrates another important potential benefit of tax gap research—the ability to highlight aspects of tax policy that are ineffective and/or clearly not working, pointing to the need for policy reform. For example, the issue of over-claimed work related deductions has long been recognised as a “problem to be fixed” and it was the subject of specific recommendations for reform in the last formal review of Australia’s tax system. What has been missing until 2018 is reliable quantitative evidence concerning the incidence and nature of non-compliance and associated tax revenue leakage. With deductions for work-related expenses now estimated to be overstated, in aggregate, by between 40-50% the case for policy reform is unquestionable and should now be a high priority.

The New York Times: “As reporters and editors find themselves the victims of layoffs at digital publishers and traditional newspaper chains alike, journalism generated by machine is on the rise. Roughly a third of the content published by Bloomberg News uses some form of automated technology

The complicated truth about China's social credit system | WIRED UK

A social-credit blacklist based on facial ID has left millions unable to buy rail or plane tickets. China is embarking on a "panopticon hoovering up of all the data you can find", even though it does not have a big problem with violent crime. By the end of 2018, 5.4 million people had been banned from buying high-speed rail tickets and 17 million people had been stopped from buying air tickets because they were put on a blacklist by a court, the tax office or another government department. Another 12,920 people have had financial restrictions imposed

Art that critiques the surveillance society

The real reason America is scared of Huawei: internet-connected everything MIT Technology Review

Germany may impose de facto Huawei 5G ban Handelsblatt

What could go wrong when a top bureaucrat moves to the big end of town?
VERONA BURGESS: Ken Henry's fall from pedestal to bed of nails was not even cushioned by the sterling contribution he previously made to the public service.

2018 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, January 2019

· ATO cash economy crackdown nets $2.7b from builders - report that the ATO has stopped $2.7b from being lost to the cash economy in the building and construction industry. 

 Single touch payroll reporting rules extended to small business - report that more than 700,000 Australian small businesses are set to be added to the ATO's single touch payroll rules after Parliament passed new laws. 
 "Instagram tax" fails to garner likes - article discussing athlete managers and accountants' views on the Instagram tax

 Morrison shelves Future Fund superannuation default plan - report that the Morrison government has shelved a proposal for the Future Fund or a new public investment entity to be a default superannuation fund. 
"Hostplus clause" to ban super funds "treating" employers - report discussing that the Morrison government aims to introduce legislation to stop superannuation funds such as Hostplus from wining and dining corporate clients to win default fund mandates from employers
 Federal government warned on R&D tax plan - report that the federal government has been told to delay, and tweak, planned changes to the R&D tax incentive amid concerns the changes could have unintended negative impacts on Australian companies.
 ATO whistleblower Richard Boyle pays the price - opinion piece discussing the cost Richard Boyle had to pay for being ATO's whistleblower.