Bills tighten tax loopholes

Multinational companies trying to avoid paying tax in Australia could come under closer scrutiny if new proposals clear Parliament.

Multinational companies trying to avoid paying tax in Australia could come under closer scrutiny if new proposals clear Parliament.

A package of tax amendments passed the House of Representatives on Thursday, despite opposition claims the legislation was rushed and could prompt foreign companies to look elsewhere.

The legislation contains 11 technical changes to tax laws that the government says will improve the system and encourage private investment in infrastructure projects.

It amends GST laws to make certain services under the national disability care scheme tax-free, while pay-as-you-go instalments will be required of larger tax entities monthly rather than quarterly.

NSW independent MP Rob Oakeshott said other measures in the "omnibus" reforms would help the Tax Office "do their job properly" and protect the integrity of the nation's tax base. Some companies at the "top end of town" were doing business in Australia but "gaming" the system by not contributing their fair share, he said.

But the Coalition, while supporting most amendments, fears some parts of the bill will hurt business.

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said the extra burdens could mean the difference between a big company staying in Australia or leaving.

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