Organised by the PSI (Public Services International) global union, the summit was the launchpad for the report Chevron’s tax schemes: piping profits out of Australia? – which reveals the extent of tax avoidance undertaken by the company on its largest global undertaking, the Gorgon gas project in Australia.
This study of Chevron’s tax schemes is the latest example showing how some multinationals avoid taxes and starve public services.
The report unveils how much tax revenue may be lost to the Australian government through complex profit-shifting schemes. At the same time as Chevron has reportedly set aside AUD352 million to settle its current lawsuit with the Australian Tax Office (ATO), it has developed a new tax avoidance scheme. This high-interest related party loan, from a Delaware subsidiary, is estimated to be worth more than AUD35 billion.
The new tax scheme is being audited by the ATO. Chevron and other oil companies in Australia are likely to feature in an Australian senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance.
ITF president Paddy Crumlin called on governments around the world to take responsibility for closing down the loopholes Chevron and others use.
“For public confidence in the integrity of tax systems, they must be transparent and fair, ” he said. “The gas that will be extracted from Australia’s waters and sold overseas is owned by the Australian people and as a result should benefit those people through jobs and tax revenues.
“If Chevron and other multinationals paid their fair share, governments would not have to cut funding for schools, hospitals and other essential public services.”