The recent addition of §3C to Australia’s Taxation Administration Act 1953 mandates that the Taxation Office publish “as soon as practicable after the end of the income year” the following tax information relating to all companies with reported total income of $100 million or more-
1. Company name and Australian Business Number
2. Total income of the year
3. Taxable income for the year
4. Income tax payable for the year
Both publicly listed and large family companies will be affected by this “tax transparency” measure.
However, the measure has little economic or statistical relevance, because the ‘total income’ effectively reflects gross income before expenses. Thus, the reports are likely to facilitate little more than headline material for the ‘popular’ press and fodder for anti-business commentators generally.
The data to be published does not include accounting profit, which would at least allow for benchmarking. Accordingly, it will not be possible to use the data draw any verifiable conclusions about the relative tax compliance of large companies.