Big business should pay more tax

Issue 

Tony Abbott has promised a 1.5% cut in the company tax rate if the Liberal-National Coalition wins the September 7 election. It will cost about $2.5 billion a year and it is exactly the opposite of what Australian society needs.

Big business needs to pay more, not less, tax.

Labor and Coalition governments have squandered the gains of the past decade of the mining boom by giving away $169 billion in tax cuts that have mainly benefited the richest 10%.

This is on top of an effective $4.5 billion annual subsidy to mining companies and a $2 billion subsidy to the coal industry as part of an overall $10 billion a year subsidy to fossil fuel industries.

The corporate tax rate has been cut from 49% in 1988 to 30% today and now the Coalition promises to cut it to 28.5%.

How low will they go?

Well, the Business Council of Australia demands more. It wants a 5% cut in the corporate tax rate.

Even before the corporations get their accountants to fiddle the books and spirit away loot to tax havens to "minimise" or dodge tax, they are already on a lower tax rate than many workers.

If you are rich enough to afford a great accountant, paying tax can be optional, said a recent article about an Australian Tax Office revelation that aabout 70 Australians with incomes of more than $1 million each paid no income tax for 2010-11.

Australian Treasury officials have also conceded that they have little power to stop large multinational companies, such as Google and Apple, from dodging tax.

Corporate greed has no limit. The question is: How long is our society going to put up with this?

[Peter Boyle is the Socialist Alliance candidate for Sydney.]