AUSTRALIA has announced it will close its “shady” offshore tax Havens, with the government announcing it will not be pursuing any further legal action against companies.
Key points:The decision to close the offshore tax havens comes after the Abbott Government accused the international community of unfairly targeting the world’s poorest countriesThe government said it would continue to prosecute companies involved in the scandal”There will be no further legal proceedings,” Attorney-General George Brandis said in a statement.
“We will continue to take action against those who have done wrong and to prosecute those who engage in tax avoidance.”
The move came as the Abbott government accused the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of unfairly pursuing “countries with the most appalling human rights records” and called for international bodies to investigate the issue.
Mr Abbott has repeatedly said he would close the tax havens, but the Prime Minister’s office said it had not made any final decisions about how to do so.
Mr Brandis was asked on Sunday if the government would pursue a further legal claim.
“I don’t want to comment on what will or won’t be pursued,” he said.
“But the Australian Government will be focusing on what is best for Australia and its people.”
Mr Brandas statement comes after a year in which Mr Abbott and his administration accused the world of unfairly punishing the world by targeting countries with the worst human rights record.
Mr Baird was the first Coalition government to launch a tax crackdown, imposing a levy of 5 per cent on the income of the top 1 per cent of earners and a 10 per cent levy on people with assets worth more than $10 million.
Mr Bush and Mr Morrison also introduced new levies, raising the top rate to 25 per cent and the top tax rate to 35 per cent.
A report by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) last year found Australia’s tax regime was one of the most unfair in the world.
It said that “the tax system is disproportionately discriminatory towards high-income earners and multinational corporations” and that “tax evasion is rampant”.
The ATO also found that Australian companies and individuals pay an effective tax rate of less than 0.1 per cent, which is less than one per cent less than Switzerland, the lowest rate in the OECD.
“The Australian Government’s policies and actions will deliver the benefits to working families and to the economy that our people deserve,” Mr Brandis told the ABC on Sunday.
“And as a result, we will not pursue any further criminal charges against companies that have engaged in tax evasion.”
The government has argued that it is simply not profitable to keep the tax system open and has promised to introduce legislation to close it within a few years.
Mr Morrison has also vowed to “rebalance” the system to ensure it works for everyone.
“Our approach to tax is that it works well for people, it works just as well for multinational corporations,” he told ABC radio on Sunday morning.
“It is a matter of fairness.”