Miners Among First to Sign Australia Tax Transparency Code

The Tax Management Transfer Pricing Report ™ provides news and analysis on U.S. and international governments’ tax policies regarding intercompany transfer pricing.

By Murray Griffin

July 25 — Mining companies Rio Tinto Group, BHP Billiton Ltd., Iluka Resources Ltd. and South32 Ltd. are among the first companies to commit to Australia's new corporate tax transparency code.

Australia's Board of Taxation, which advises the government on tax matters, recently released a register showing that those companies were among the 13 that have so far committed to the code, which was launched May 3 (25 Transfer Pricing Report 41, 5/12/16).

In addition to the mining companies, other initial signatories include Telstra Corp. Ltd., the country's major telecommunications company; Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., which is one of the nation's four largest banks; and property company Stockland Trust Management Ltd.

The register listing said the board is aware of other companies that have internal processes underway to adopt the code.

Large Companies

The code comprises a set of principles and minimum standards to guide disclosure of tax information by large businesses. It was developed by the board at the request of former Treasurer Joe Hockey, and the government has urged all large companies to adopt it from the 2016 financial year onward.

Although the code is voluntary, Treasury's principal adviser on corporate and international tax, Kathryn Davy, earlier this year told a Large Business Stewardship Group convened by the Australian Taxation Office that there may be pressure to make it mandatory if there is insufficient voluntary participation.

Part A of the code is aimed at businesses with gross income of A$100 million ($74.7 million) or more, and part B is targeted at companies with income over A$500 million.

The code doesn't require signatories to disclose disputes with revenue authorities, with the board stating that information on disputes is already subject to accounting or exchange disclosure requirements, if they are material.

To contact the reporter on this story: Murray Griffin in Melbourne at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rita McWilliams at rmcwilliams@bna.com

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