Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has recovered about $882 million in tax in Australia. Obviously, the government is decidedly reluctant to pay it.
So the Australian Tax Office have decided not to bother appealing the decision at all.
This is presumably because they have been bullied by newspapers and politicians rather than the fact that there is no basis in law for them to keep the tax that they have levied.
The repayment relates to a restructuring from 1989. No cash actually changed hands at all but ATO obviously collected a significant amount tax at some point which News International has disputed.
Four things follow from this.
First let’s stop pretending that the freedom to move capital does not undermine the right of The State to tax transactions where there is no economic substance. The State should stop it.
Second, let’s stop pretending that the tax profession are not a bunch of neoliberal psychopaths conspiring to destroy Civil Society. Every single person in the country should learn the thousands of pages of legislation, that continually change, for themselves so that they could contemplate completing their own tax return correctly.
Third, let’s recognise that this is all some sort of neoliberal conspiracy.
Last, let’s recognise that a general anti-avoidance principle may have considerable benefit in preventing such abuses. If only Australia had a general anti-avoidance rule of some description.
Many other countries have such rules. Countries like Australia, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Australia and even Australia. Heck, Australia’s general anti-avoidance principle has antecedents that go back as far as 1895. That’s almost 120 years of legal evolution of their principle.
So that is exactly why we need such a principle in the UK. I, of course, recommend my GRAPIST but I also acknowledge that a widely drawn anti-avoidance rule such as they have in Australia would work too.
And don’t let anybody tell you that this proves the exact opposite of what I am saying. That person is undoubtedly part of the neoliberal conspiracy.