Thursday, 07 February 2013 08:38
The Senate has ordered the tax commissioner to reveal how much money, if any, has poured into government coffers from the controversial mining super profits tax.
Treasury has predicted the minerals resources rent tax on the super profits of iron ore and coal miners would raise $2 billion this financial year.
But so far the big miners - Rio Tinto, Xstrata and BHP Billiton - don't appear to have paid any tax and the government has refused to say how much has been raised.
The government insists the tax commissioner can't reveal the tax receipts of the taxpaying mining companies for legal reasons.
The Australian Greens disagreed and moved a motion in the Senate, that was successfully backed by the opposition on Wednesday, that tells the Commissioner of Taxation to reveal the numbers.
The Commissioner of Taxation will now have to provide the Senate economics committee with details of MRRT revenue collected since 1 July no later than 15 February.
Shadow assistant treasurer Mathias Cormann said Australians will now find out how much or how little the MRRT has actually raised.
"The government came up with a complex and contentious new tax, they made predictions about how much they thought it would raise and they spent the money they thought it would raise and more," he said in a statement.
"The government's suggestion that this information is secret on taxpayer confidentiality grounds is farcical and unacceptable."
Earlier on Wednesday, Finance Minister Penny Wong insisted that was not the government's advice and the commissioner had to comply with the privacy provisions of tax law.
"It's not in the political interest of anybody, nor in the interest of the country for governments to ignore what the law says," she told Sky News.
Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury announced earlier this week the government was looking into how corporate tax laws could be made more transparent.
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