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Copeland: Banks might owe almost $2 billion in taxes

Media statement
For immediate release
Thursday, 30 March 2006

Copeland: Banks might owe almost $2 billion in back taxes

United Future MP and revenue spokesperson, Gordon Copeland, today expressed his disappointment that, according to information provided by the Inland Revenue Department, the amount of tax in dispute with ANZ-National, ASB, BNZ, and Westpac banks totals $1.935 billion, including tax and interest.

"Frankly I am staggered to learn that the better part of $2 billion is involved in relation to short-paid taxes by the banks," said Mr Copeland.

"At different times the banks have, to their credit, come clean about the amount in dispute with the IRD but a figure of $2 billion is big bucks in anyone's language.

"It would buy a lot of pharmaceuticals, university scholarships, new hospital facilities, and learning aids such as computers at our schools.

"If these Australian banks are to maintain the confidence of their New Zealand customers then they need to be seen to be good corporate citizens, pulling their weight when it comes to taxation like the rest of us.

"After all, nurses working in intensive care, hard pressed school principals, not to mention your average working kiwi battler, pay their full share of our taxation burden - in fact they have no choice in the matter under our PAYE system - so at the end of the day this is not just about tax, it is also about fairness, justice and equity."

Mr Copeland expressed the hope that the banks would settle these disputes, and settle quickly, keeping those principles in mind.

ENDS

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