Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) have claimed that clear risks have arisen in the wake of the public release of corporate tax information by the ATO.
Tax transparency comes at a cost: CAANZ
Michael Croker, the Australian tax leader at CAANZ, noted that the proponents of the new disclosure measurements are promoting a new era of transparency, although privacy has now been brought into question.
“Concerns over the corporate tax base have persuaded our political leaders that tax morality concerns outweigh the privacy principle when it comes to large companies.
“However, there are risks associated with a public website listing raw tax return data,” he added.
According to Mr Croker, name-and-shame reporting will add to the disclosure costs of those companies which seek to mitigate the reputational damage of ill-informed reporting.
“Some companies could also respond in a policy sense, making clear that Australia isn’t such a great place to do business compared with other, more tax competitive jurisdictions.”
Mr Croker added that the data has the potential to undermine confidence in which the way Australian tax law is administered.
“Within the bounds of taxpayer confidentiality, it would not surprise if the ATO starts telling the community more about what it is doing to enforce compliance,” Mr Croker continued.
“Regardless of the differing viewpoints, the disclosure regime is now here so the task is to improve the community’s understanding of what the numbers do and don’t mean.”