Tax amendments aim to stop companies 'gaming' system

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

Multinational companies trying to avoid paying tax in Australia may come under closer scrutiny if new proposals clear Federal 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 significant infrastructure projects.

It amends GST law to make certain services provided under DisabilityCare Australia tax free, while pay as you go instalments will be required of larger tax entities on a monthly rather than quarterly basis.

Independent MP Rob Oakeshott said other measures in the reforms would help the Tax Office "do their job properly" and protect the integrity of the nation's tax base.

Some companies were doing business in Australia but "gaming" the system, he said.

"There are plenty of examples ... where well-known multinationals in particular are gaming those sovereign tax laws at those countries' expense, including ours," Mr Oakeshott told the lower house.

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

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said the extra regulatory burdens could mean the difference between a major corporation staying in or leaving Australia.

"It could be that little bit extra that just makes it that little bit harder to do business in Australia."

He accused the government of trying to ram through the changes, which he described as the largest tax law amendment bill on record.

The government introduced the legislation eight days ago.

Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said another aspect of the bill would ensure financial planners met professional and ethical standards and, in turn, protected consumers and their money.

AAP

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