However, in this case, there wasn't any further discussion and the bill was immediately passed in the House (that is, given a third reading). This means it will now be sent to the Senate for them to decide whether to pass it or not.
Bill's main idea
The purpose of the bill is to stop certain tax information of Australian-owned private companies from being made public by the Commissioner of Taxation. In other words, the bill makes sure that the tax information of those companies stays private.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Science, Karen Andrews MP, argued that this bill "will ensure that there is greater public transparency of the tax affairs of companies but without risking the privacy, personal security and market environments of Australian owned private companies" (see her full speech).
What 'tax information' is currently made public?
Right now, the Commissioner of Taxation publishes some tax information of companies whose total annual income equals or exceeds $100 million. The information published includes the company’s:
- ABN and name;
- total annual income;
- annual taxable income or net income (if any); and
- annual income tax payable (if any).
See the bills digest for further information.
Background to the bill
The previous Labor Government introduced the requirement to publish this tax information in 2013. The then Assistant Treasurer, David Bradbury MP, announced that it would "encourage enterprises to pay their fair share of tax and discourage aggressive tax minimisation practices" (see his media release).