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John Passant

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December 2014



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Joe Hockey is the best friend big business tax avoiders have

Heath Aston has an excellent article – Hockey backflips on tax laws … – in today’s Age and Sydney Morning Herald lambasting Joe Hockey as the friend of tax avoiders. He quotes me from an article in October 2014 about the Abbott government’s failure to follow through with Labor’s proposed changes to some provisions used for tax avoidance purposes.   The quote is:

John Passant, an outspoken tax expert from the Australian National University, recently wrote about the government’s decision not to abolish section 25-90 deductions.

“It is unfortunate in the extreme that the Treasurer and Treasury have listened to a group of rent seekers being unjustly rewarded by not repealing section 25-90. But since this is a government of the 1% that is not surprising and we can conclude in fact that Hockey’s bluster about addressing tax avoidance by his rich mates is just that – complete and utter bluster,” he wrote.

The Treasurer has now issued a rebuttal of sorts, although it is more spin than anything else. Relying on an unnamed expert (presumably a vested interest tax adviser from the private sector) he claims that Fairfax is wrong again on corporate tax.

Hockey getting advice from advisers to the one percent on tax laws that would apply to the one percent, only to be told by them not to go ahead with those laws, sort of proves the point, doesn’t it?

To explain, this government decided not to go ahead with Labor’s proposal last year to abolish section 25-90 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. That section breaches basic income tax standards by allowing deductions against certain exempt income. It is at the heart of a number of big business tax avoidance arrangements. According to the Labor government of the time this would have seen an extra $600 million a year collected from the tax avoiders.

Instead of changing tax laws to catch tax avoiders, Hockey wants to charge us $5 to go to the doctor, wants to double the debt of University students, wants to cut hospital spending by $940 million … On and on it goes, the attacks on the poor and workers. Truly it is all about priorities isn’t it Treasurer?

When announcing that the Abbott government wouldn’t go ahead with the repeal of section 25-90, Hockey said they would introduce more targeted changes to address the issue. They abandoned even this pretence in Monday’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

Evidently it would be impractical to go ahead with any changes. Impractical for whom Mr Hockey? Your rich and powerful tax avoiding mates.

I have a simple question for the Treasurer. Why don’t you tell us what the Australian Tax Office thinks about section 25-90?

Joe Hockey is the best friend big business tax avoiders have.



Comment from Lorikeet
Time December 18, 2014 at 10:34 am

Yes, and now it also looks as if he intends to ramp up the GST to 15%, so he can hurt people living on low incomes.

If Tony Abbott thinks he and Joe Hockey should only be paying $5.00 towards their doctors’ bills, they should both be sacked immediately.

There is no good reason for high income earners and their children to be bulk billed. Instead they should have to pay a higher Medicare levy.

The government wants to crucify doctors running small practices so corporate clinics and private hospitals can take over and deliver “abattoir” medicine, from which the rich stand to profit.

Certainly the latest proposal of Medicare co-payment could cause smaller clinics to start charging pensioners a full fee.

Comment from Olympus
Time December 18, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Behind the scenes they Libs/Nats must be worried. They look likely to preside over a recession that will strip them of any legitimacy they sought to claim. Their business crony kleptocrats do not have the business skills to operate in a low growth world and poor fat, dumb Joe has no idea of what to do on the tax collection side.

Comment from Mark
Time December 18, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Under double tax agreements, this wouldn’t save anything John, the companies would still be able to charge the interest as a deduction for interest expense on Australian debt and get a tax credit for tax paid in the other jurisdiction, it couldn’t be allowed for individuals to be able to do this which they are, but not companies. E.g. New Zealand Investment Property, UK Investment Property, US Shares, Hong Kong Shares, running a small business in China etc…

Comment from John
Time December 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm

That must explain why the Commissioner of Tax says the abuse of section 25-90 costs hundreds of millions.

Comment from John
Time December 18, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Not so. If we abolish section 25-90 they can’t claim the interest deduction because the income is exempt under the new section 23AJ.

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