Oxfam report calls for tax haven crackdown

The Australian government is under pressure to crack down harder on tax havens, with Oxfam highlighting the global cost of the ongoing problem in a new report.

The Perseus Mining Gold Mine near the town of Ayanfuri in Ghana.

The Perseus Mining Gold Mine near the town of Ayanfuri in Ghana. Source: Nana Kofi Acquah/OxfamAUS

Australia is under increasing pressure to crack down on offshore tax havens, with a new report suggesting the country is falling behind in tackling the issue.

Oxfam, the Uniting Church and Tax Justice Network Australia have released a joint paper entitled 'Buried Treasure'.

It details the wealth Australian mining companies "hide" around the world.

The groups estimate Australian mining companies shifted up to $1.1 billion out of Africa in 2015 alone through the use of tax havens, and African nations lost $289 million in tax revenues as a result.

"Tax avoidance by multinational companies - including Australian firms - deprives countries around the world of much-needed funds," the report released on Monday said.

The groups praised Canada, the UK and the European Union for initiating tougher laws for companies and demanding greater transparency about what taxes are paid, and where.

"But so far, Australia is a laggard when it comes to global mandatory tax transparency," the report said.

The groups are calling for the adoption of public, country-by-country reporting on tax avoidance.

Labor assistant treasury spokesman Andrew Leigh said a register would reveal where firms operate, how much revenue they book and how much tax they pay.

"We know that tax havens are used by drug dealers and arms traffickers. We know they are being abused by multinational firms to avoid paying their fair share of tax," Dr Leigh said on Monday.

"It is up to Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg to take action. As Oxfam states, it's time for Australia to become leaders, not laggards on tax transparency."

Published 29 July 2019 at 9:42am, updated 29 July 2019 at 10:06am
Source: AAP