Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Dunne explains NZ’s tax approach to multinationals


Hon Peter Dunne

Minister of Revenue


Tuesday, 4 December 2012 Media Statement

Dunne explains NZ’s tax approach to multinationals

Tax systems around the world are adjusting to corporate giants with huge internet footprints, but very little physical presence, Revenue Minister Peter said today in addressing issues around the tax treatment of large multinational companies.

“The reality is that tax regimes internationally have generally been developed for an industrial age, and have struggled to keep pace with new business models and technologies not contained by location or national borders,” Mr Dunne said.

“That is the challenge that we face in New Zealand, but it is very much a global issue faced by other nations too. The problem is not just that these large companies are not paying substantial tax here, but that they tend not to be paying substantial tax anywhere.

“We see Britain and Australia facing exactly the same issues, and our rules are already very similar to those adopted by Australia last week,” he said.

Mr Dunne said the answer to taxing multinationals appropriately in various jurisdictions would be found through international projects and agreements, and that New Zealand is involved in these talks, particularly through the OECD.

“A key issue is that foreign companies are taxed on the activities that they actually perform in New Zealand, so under international norms, New Zealand, like any other OECD nation, may have no right to tax profits from revenues generated from New Zealand.”

“Again, for cross-border transactions, the New Zealand tax system, like those of tax jurisdictions around the world, focuses on a physical presence and taxable activity occurring here,” Mr Dunne said.

“However, the internet has made it possible to provide an increasing range of services to distant customers from anywhere in the world. This means that overseas-based internet companies have a very limited physical presence in most countries in which they operate – including New Zealand.

“Since the bulk of what these companies do, in terms of programming, designing websites, running servers, selling advertising, is done overseas, New Zealand, like other countries, may have very limited taxing rights.

Mr Dunne said concerns that such multinationals are not paying appropriate levels of tax need to be balanced against those complex realities.

“There are no easy answers or quick fixes here, but there are definitely fundamental issues that need to be tackled to get a fairer system,” he said.

“This is, as I say, a global problem requiring a global response and New Zealand will be involved in working up that response,” he said.

He said New Zealand participates closely in the OECD project on profit shifting by multinationals and the global erosion of the corporate tax base.

“Part of the OECD’s work will focus on how tax structures such as the double Irish technique may be used to minimise the tax which is payable in Ireland and other foreign countries.

“We are also closely involved with related initiatives such as the systematic reviews of country regimes being undertaken by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes and the OECD’s Forum on Harmful Tax Practices.

“I can assure you that any activities multinational businesses, or their New Zealand subsidiaries, perform in this country will be taxed appropriately,” he said.

Mr Dunne said on the international front measures such as transfer pricing, thin capitalisation, and general anti-avoidance rules are already in place to make sure international firms pay an appropriate level of tax in New Zealand.

“We also have a growing network of tax treaties to help stamp out tax avoidance through information sharing with other countries.”

As part of Budget 2010, the Government took steps to stop foreign multinationals from reducing their New Zealand profits through debt funding by tightening the thin capitalisation ratio from 75% to 60%. The Government’s tax policy work programme includes a project to ensure that certain investment structures cannot be used to escape the application of these rules.

Mr Dunne has requested a report from Inland Revenue into the tax treatment of such companies.

“Our tax laws need to evolve and they will. This is a challenge, and it is about fairness, and it will be met.”


Ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Pakistan Schoolchildren Killings

The slaughter of the children in Pakistan is incomprehensibly awful. On the side, it has thrown a spotlight onto something that’s become a pop cultural meme. Fans of the Homeland TV series will be well aware of the collusion between sections of the Pakistan military/security establishment on one hand and sections of the Taliban of the other…

Reportedly, it was the breakdown of the relationship between the Pakistan Taliban and the Pakistan military – which for the first time, began bombing Taliban enclaves in the Tribal Federated Areas earlier this year – that led to this revenge attack on the school, which is attended by the children of the military. More>>

 

Parliament Adjourns:

Police: Phillip Smith Investigation Passport Charge

A 25 year-old man will appear in the Whanganui District Court today charged with the Passports Act offence of False Representations. The charges were laid on December 9 by the Auckland-based Phillip Smith investigation... More>>

Intelligence: Inspector-General Accepts Apology For Leak Of Report

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has accepted an unreserved apology from Hon Phil Goff MP for disclosing some of the contents of her recent Report into the Release of Information by the NZSIS in July and August 2011 to media prior to its publication. The Inspector-General will not take the matter any further. More>>

ALSO:

Drink: Alcohol Advertising Report Released

The report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship has been released today, with Ministers noting that further work will be required on the feasibility and impact of the proposals. More>>

ALSO:

Other Report:

Leaked Cabinet Papers: Treasury Calls For Health Cuts

Leaked Cabinet papers that show that Government has been advised to cut the health budget by around $200 million is ringing alarm bells throughout the nursing and midwifery community. More>>

ALSO:

Maori Party: Tribunal Report Confirms Iwi Ownership Of Lake Waikaremoana

“We are pleased for the claimants that eight years after the hearing began on Lake Waikaremoana they have some closure,” says Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell. “Most importantly, the report confirms freshwater is a taonga and identifies the ownership rights of Tūhoe, Ngāti Ruapani, Ngāti Kahungunu, and Ngāi Tamaterangi to the lake bed.” More>>

ALSO:

Climate Performance Report - Not Achieved: NZ Government Part Of Global Climate Problem

The New Zealand Government’s position on climate change is part of the global problem that we need to overcome if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, the Green Party said. More>>

ALSO:

NSW Police Statement: Three Dead Following Martin Place Siege

About 2.10am (Tuesday 16 December), a confrontation occurred between police and a man who had taken a number of people hostage inside a café on Martin Place. Shots were fired during the confrontation. As a result, the 50-year-old man was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital. Another man, aged 34, and a woman, aged 38, were pronounced dead after being taken to hospital. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sydney Siege (And DHB Budget Cuts)
Whenever the authorities bring a siege situation to an end, there will be criticism if – as has happened in Sydney – any hostages are seriously hurt, or killed... In the Sydney Morning Herald this morning, columnist Peter Hartcher raises a different point – that the initial public response had been noticeably different to the agitated reactions of politicians and the media. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Income Inequality, And Yo Ho Ho Christmas Songs

As 2014 grinds to a close, we probably didn’t need one more reminder of this government’s ability to stare reality in the face and declare black to be a very fine shade of white... Yet on Wednesday, there was Finance Minister Bill English trying to tell RNZ that the OECD was (a) wrong (b) using old data and (c) somehow anti-growth and in any case (d) New Zealand allegedly already had a strongly re-distributive tax system... More>>

Werewolf: Public Health - The Silent Crisis

Gordon Campbell: New Zealand’s public health system has been in crisis for so long that its failings – and deteriorating performance vis a vis other developed countries – now tend to be treated as its normal mode of being. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: House Adjourns For Summer

Parliament has risen for the summer break with the Adjournment Motion agreed just after 5pm on Wednesday. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news