Politics

Sam Dastyari uses cute little kids and lollies to explain Multinational Tax Avoidance

It's the cutest and most politically-pandering video you'll see on a tax policy.

NSW Labor senator, Sam Dastyari, has been championing Labor's less-than-pleased stance on Multinational Tax Avoidance.  His latest stunt, a Facebook video titled "The cutest guide to tax avoidance" uses lollies and cute kids to illustrate the sentiment that motivates tax evasion.

The short video, which was released yesterday on Dastyari's Facebook page, features Dastyari talking to two little girls about the importance of sharing.

In spite of its title, the it's not an explainer on tax avoidance nor does it outline or allude to Labor's tax reform policies. It's just a cute campaign-friendly video implying that multinational corporations don't 'share' in the same way taxpayers do, nor feel remorse.

Using lollies as props, Dastyari asks both girls to share some of their own lollies with his friend, a personified Australia.

"Some people want to really share, and some people just want to pretend to share," Dastyari tells the two girls in the video.

The video shows that one of the girl's lollies never reach the Australia, and funneled straight back to her.

"Did you really share or just pretend to share and it came back to you?" Dastyari asks her.

Dastyari then uses the girl's reaction to illustrate that multinationals, just like the little girl, feel zero remorse for "pretending to share".

"Is that nice?" he asks her.

She shakes her head.

"Do you feel bad about that?"

She shakes her head again.

"Should you feel a bit bad?"

Once again, the girl just shakes her head.

Labor's proposed measures to combat multinational tax avoidance gives consideration to "thin capitalisation rules" and "the amount of debt the multinational companies can claim deductions for" within Australia.

"Companies will no longer be able to claim up to a 60 per cent debt-to-equity ratio for their Australian operations. Instead, deductions will be assessed on the debt-to-equity ratio of a company’s entire global operations. This means that if a company has an average 30 per cent debt-to-equity ratio across its different subsidiaries, it will only be able to claim tax deductions up to that level," reads their tax policy proposal website, TheirFairShare.Org.

The website also outlines how the party intends for Australia's tax rules for foreign companies doing business in Australia to be better aligned with tax laws abroad, so as to minimise discrepancies and mismatches that lead to tax evasion, intentional or negligent.

Earlier this month in his budget announcement, Treasurer Scott Morrison revealed the coalition's plans to combat Multinational Tax Avoidance with what's being colloquially termed a "Google Tax".

In a nutshell, the coalition plans to recover $3.9 bil over the next four years by increasing penalties for companies that fail to accurately declare their profits, by establishing a Deverted Profits Tax at a rate of 40% to prevent company profits from being pushed offshore, and by establishing a new operational tax force within the ATO to oversee multinationals and enforce these new measures. 

Labor supports these new measures, however, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten still accused the coalition of "playing catch-up" in his Budget Reply earlier this month.

 

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