Stop multinational companies from dodging $500 million in tax


Dear Michael Woodhouse, Minister of Revenue,

Multinational companies should have to pay their fair share in tax. We call on you to launch an investigation into the adequacy of New Zealand's current laws and any need for greater transparency to deter tax avoidance and provide assurance that all companies are complying fully with New Zealand's tax laws.

Will you sign?


6,422 SIGNATURES
10,000 signatures

It’s only fair that multinational corporations should pay their share of tax in New Zealand, but they currently don’t - dodging nearly $500 million in tax through ‘profit-shifting’ tax loopholes. That is $500 million we sorely need for our health and education systems.

While the rest of us pay our fair share of tax to build a country we can be proud of, multinational companies are using dirty tricks to avoid paying their share. As the NZ Herald exposed in their investigation last week - 20 multinational companies paid just $1.8m in income tax in 2014, despite recording nearly $10 billion in annual sales in this country. [1]

This isn’t only a problem in New Zealand - the UK and Australia have recently clamped down on tax avoidance by multinational companies that deliberately set up local subsidiaries and shift profits overseas to tax havenswhere they pay almost no tax.

Multinational corporations making money in New Zealand should pay their fair share of tax in New Zealand too, and we need an investigation toget clear on just how these companies are avoiding paying tax. Add your name to our petition to the Minister of Revenue, Michael Woodhouse, to launch an investigation now to make transparent how these companies are dodging paying their fair share - as the Australian Tax Office has done. [2]   

Our strategy is to put the issue squarely on the media’s agenda and make sure it stays in the headlines - forcing the Government to launch an investigation. If tens of thousands of us call together for this, the media and Minister of Revenue will see that New Zealanders want multinational corporations to pay their fair share in tax and will have to act.

One of the big issues surrounding multinational tax dodging is that Inland Revenue is legally banned from discussing the tax affairs of individual companies, even if it believed that would be in the public interest. The ban has prevented journalists and interest groups from digging deeper into the rights and wrongs of individual company’s tax practices. [3] The way to get around this is to have Parliament set up an investigation to expose just how these companies are avoiding paying tax in New Zealand, so we can close the loopholes.

In Australia they addressed this issue through a Senate inquiry which assessed the adequacy of Australia’s current laws and any need for greater transparency to deter tax avoidance and provide assurance that all companies are complying fully with Australia’s tax laws. [4] This is exactly what we need in New Zealand.

Prime Minister John Key has already hinted New Zealand might follow Australia and take unilateral action against profit-shifting multinationals.  As the National Business Review pointed out, public outcry could be enough to push the government into following the unilateral approach that's been taken across the Tasman in Australia. [5]

There is already strong support for an investigation, with local business demanding change. Don Christie, the director of IT firm Catalyst, said he and his counterparts in the New Zealand technology industry faced unfair competition from foreign-owned firms who were able to minimise tax bills by routing money offshore. [6] Even the Prime Minister signaled on Saturday that he’d be willing to move.

So if we act now to ramp up pressure on the Government, we could help close this loophole which is costing our country hundreds of millions in lost income. We need a government that won't look the other way as foreign corporations rob our local schools and hospitals blind. 

We know this can work. A people-led campaign in the last UK election led to a major corporate tax loophole being closed by a conservative government. Now, let’s do the same – all that's needed to get this started is your support.

References:

  1. Top multinationals pay almost no tax in New Zealand, NZ Herald, Mar 18, 2016

  2. Australia widens legislation to target more companies for tax avoidance, The Guardian, 7 October 2015

  3. We need tax probe, NZ Herald, NZ Herald, Friday Mar 18, 2016

  4. You cannot tax what you cannot see, Economics References Committee Corporate tax avoidance, August 2015

  5. Not fair that multinationals pay minimal tax in New Zealand – Key, NBR, Saturday, March 19, 2016

  6. Tax inquiry would shed little light, Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse says, Stuff.co.nz, March 18 2016



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