The Business Council of Australia today released a major discussion paper on Australia’s international tax regime.
The paper, Removing Tax Barriers to International Growth, was prepared by Andersen, a leading global taxation adviser.
The President of the Business Council of Australia, Dr John Schubert, said the discussion paper presented a comprehensive analysis of the shortcomings associated with the international tax system.
Dr Schubert said the international tax system discouraged Australian companies from expanding abroad.
“The renegotiation of our tax treaty arrangements with the US in September was a very positive first step,” he said.
“But there is a pressing need to restructure the international tax system, which acts as a handbrake on the capacity of Australian companies to take their place in the world.”
Dr Schubert said the Business Council and its members were now considering the paper, and would take their priorities to the international tax review announced by the federal government and expected to get under way in the New Year.
“This is a major contribution to the debate, and we congratulate Andersen for the depth and quality of the information and analysis brought forward in the discussion paper,” he said.
The Chairman of the BCA Tax Task Force and Chairman of Andersen Australia, Mr Chris Knoblanche, said the paper was underpinned by three major themes:
1. Fostering the growth of Australian-based companies, particularly as they raise equity and expand internationally.
2. Encouraging the establishment of regional headquarters in Australia for foreign-controlled companies.
3. Making Australia an attractive location for talented people who are need to inject technical and managerial skills into local companies.
Mr Knoblanche said: “These issues are not big end of town issues – they affect the formation of new and emerging businesses and industries in Australia, and therefore the capacity to create jobs and opportunity.
“Australia has moved towards reforming its taxation system in recent years, particularly in restoring the effectiveness of indirect taxation.
“But the rest of the world is also reforming, with major countries aiming for internationally competitive taxation systems for international business.
“Australia must now recalibrate its cross-border tax laws to be internationally competitive to attract and retain people, skills and investment.”