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Australia hits tech firms with corporate tax crackdown

Australia is set to implement new corporate tax legislation to crack down on multinational companies, with technology giants among those affected.

Joe Hockey, currently serving as Treasurer of Australia, stressed that the government would no longer accept tax avoidance from global firms.

Read more: Google, Apple and Microsoft battle against Australian tax evasion claims

Without identifying his targets specifically, Mr Hockey said that corporations must be prevented from “diverting profits earned in Australia away from Australia to no-tax or low-tax jurisdictions.” Google, Apple and Microsoft all faced court cases in Australia last month to counter accusation of diverting profits.

It now seems that the national government will implement new measures to crackdown on the firms, with legislation expected to be introduced tomorrow. Although it still has to be passed in parliament, if successful the ruling would have huge impact on the tax paid by large companies. It is expected that the legislation would allow Australia to tax companies on profit diverted offshore.

The bill would not come into effect until January 2016, but mirrors a similar proposal in the UK to generate increased tax revenue.

Chancellor George Osborne announced the so-called Google Tax back in March in the final budget before the general election. The proposal would see companies face a diverted profits tax and is expected to raise £3.1 billion over the next five years in conjunction with other tax laws.

Read more: Owner of lost iPhone gets pranked by Australian police

At the time Mr Osborne said that the UK’s “tolerance for those who will not pay their fair share of taxes has come to an end," and it now seems that the Australian government feels the same way.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.