Digital Giants To Face Heavy Government Tax

An editorial stock photo of the Australian Government Taxation forms.

Support has been thrown behind a proposed tax on digital platforms including Google, Facebook and Uber.

The measure was supported Senate crossbenchers and may be voted on and implemented in the next two weeks.

The final two votes needed to secure the tax are held by Centre Alliance senator Stirling Griff, who along with colleague Rex Patrick, according to The SMH.

Though both have said the party was “100 per cent behind a digital economy tax proposal”.

“If the digital economy tax makes the government coffers swell more than they do now, that is very much a positive step,” Senator Griff added.

“As long as there are no cuts to core community services, we’d be receptive to a degree of tax relief for everybody. A lot could happen in six weeks; maybe the company and income taxes can be done by July.”

Meanwhile, Treasurer Scott Morrison has claimed digital platforms are “ripping out a big part of our tax base”.

The news follows Google and Facebook back paying the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) millions in local taxes a fortnight ago.

The crackdown on multinational tax avoidance saw Facebook pay $31 million to the ATO.

The fee covers Facebook’s presence in Australia from 2009 to 2015, however, may not be representative of the platform’s actual profits during those six years.

In 2017, Facebook reported a local tax bill of $11.2 million on a profit of $32.9 million, however, in 2016, posted pre-tax earnings of only $6.3 million and paid $3.3 million in tax.

The drastic increase in – or more likely underreporting of – local revenue may be due to the platform having to be more transparent about revenue thanks to the ongoing probe into Facebook’s Australian division.

Google has also recently released its local accounts and profit, with the tech giant reporting a profit of $125.1 million in 2016 from its Australian arm.

Last year Google Australia earned roughly $3 billion in advertising while Facebook earned $479 million in ad spend revenue.

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