Astonishing ignorance at the Senate Tax Inquiry

CHAIR: Let us be clear about what the distinctions are in this. Tax avoidance is questionably moral behaviour. It is legal. Tax evasion is illegal behaviour. I think they are the two terms.

The Chair is Senator Sam Dastyari (ALP, NSW) – this man is running an inquiry into taxation and he thinks he knows the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion.

Mind you, Nick Xenophon’s (Independent, SA) understanding falls into the “please expand on your answer” category:

Senator XENOPHON: Tax avoidance is different from tax minimisation and from tax evasion.

I don’t know what is worse, that these intellectual giants represent people in the Parliament, or that people actually vote for them.

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40 Responses to Astonishing ignorance at the Senate Tax Inquiry

  1. H B Bear says:

    Dastyari sums up everything that is wrong with the ALP.

    At least Labor’s Idiot Son now has some company in the Senate.

  2. H B Bear says:

    The Xylophone really should be out in Rundle Mall with an organ grinder and a monkey.

    It says a lot about Mainland Tasmania that they send Sarah Hyphen-Seapatrol to Canberra and Xylophone still nearly picks up two Senate quotas.

  3. Baldrick says:

    Xenophon is only there for the publicity. He’s a low information appointee.

  4. notafan says:

    Tax avoidance is a wishy washy term. What does it mean really? Legally structuring your business affairs to minimise the amount of tax you pay?
    Only declaring income earned in Australia on your Australian tax return.
    Claiming all the deductions you are entitled to.
    What is moral or immoral about that?
    If tax avoidance is that then pretty much everyone does it.
    Entering into artificial schemes to give the appearance of compliance with tax laws with round robin cheques, paper distributions to beneficiaries who aren’t aware that they are beneficiaries and never receive funds and other flim flammery -that is immoral and also tax evasion. Calling it tax avoidance was a moral rationalisation for those accountants and lawyers who wanted to differentiate themselves from the two sets of books lot/cash under the mattress lot.
    There is paying the corrent tax according to the law and tax evasion. That is all.
    What does Sam want to achieve? A Starbucks style donation to Treasury? A hands up guilty as charged admission at the committee hearing?
    Plotless pointless pathetic.

  5. mundi says:

    They are just doing what they always do: Claiming the moral high ground while trying to pass laws that take our wealth and smother our prosperity.

  6. Infidel Tiger says:

    Dastyari and Xenophon – What happened to the other 5 moral dwarfs?

  7. GregJ says:

    Xenophon is a pygmy – intellectually and physically – and for the life of me I do not understand how it is that people see him as other than what he is: an empty headed moral grandstander.

  8. Alfonso says:

    Kerry dealt to the the Senate political scum and lo, they were suitably terrified.
    Today’s corporate metrosexuals are forelock tuggers.

  9. Entropy says:

    The Qld country life this week referred to a ‘strong’ dissenting report by xenephon. I had actually read his report before Easter so when I read QCL’s description I just laughed out loud. He essentially bleated that something must be done! Then quoted those intellectual Giants Bob Katter, Rowell Walton and Dr (for a doctor he is) Mark McGovern from QUT. I think rather than strong, ‘went through the motions’ would be more accurate.

  10. squawkbox says:

    Again, the Xenophon universal translator comes into play…

    Senator XENOPHON: Tax avoidance is different from tax minimisation and from tax evasion.

    = “Look at me! I’m on an inquiry! I’m talking to important people! Is that a TV camera I see?”

  11. Copperfield says:

    The Shia of Iran with a monobrow trimmed within an inch of its life-I give you senator Sam Dastyari

  12. Gab says:

    Astonishing ignorance at the Senate Tax Inquiry

    I’m not at all astonished by the ignorance shown by Dastayari, Xenophon and Milne.

    I’ve come to expect nothing else from these three.

  13. Gab says:

    By the way, Sinclair, am really enjoying the Cat’s Taxation series of posts. Thank you.

  14. Fred Lenin. says:

    Suddenly the green industry is coming into focus in the overseas group avoiding tax ,whaypt about the subsidised energy people of the communist Union uper funds ,the dues paid to the red unions ,the donations to politician Grubs ,and the !Bribes paid to political muppets ,Te field is open to persecute the rich green/ alp/ communist / unio mafia Pardee thugs ,in or out of office . Have a good investigation of all the left crooks ,tax and fine them till that are ruined ,get stuck into tge mongrels .

  15. stackja says:

    Sam is an ALP apparatchik not an economist.

  16. Bro son says:

    Dumb and dumber evidence of the unfathomable ignorance of the conundrum that is the Australian senate.

  17. rickw says:

    Just idiots.

  18. Sydney Boy says:

    So what is term used for people who buy from overseas websites and thus do not pay GST? Or people who pay a tradie cash for a small job? Would Sam Dastyari call that “questionably moral behaviour?”

  19. ar says:

    I learned the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion in Year 7 Economics class.

  20. Rob MW says:

    Dastyari put the country’s carpet in the carpetbag; Milne put the country’s bagman in the carpetbag, and Xenophon put the country’s exploration wheels on the carpetbag.

  21. Anthony says:

    It’s difficult to understand why Xenophon chose to call himself Xenophon – a Greek who wrote some pretty prose but never amounted to anything. He certainly was no philosopher. Maybe it’s not too difficult to see why Xenophon chose to call himself Xenophon. Maybe that was his one and only moment of truth.

  22. Lem says:

    They can forget about taxing income earners as a source of snout-snuffling in a deflationary environment.
    The only place that will be left to go for arts grants will be GST.
    What dya say about that senator sam?

  23. Chris says:

    As a South Australian Xenophon is a sad disappointment, I admit I never voted for him & tried to talk others out of it. For Nick it is all about the stunt & Nick, also he is definitely green on the inside. No one hears “No Pokie” talk anymore. What is sad is the way he has captured talk back radio in SA they treat him like a god with every utterance from the oracle. The sad poser votes with Greens 50% of the time yet relies on people that hate Greens to get elected.

  24. DrBeauGan says:

    When, oh when will someone tell them they are a bunch of useless parasites?

  25. C.L. says:

    Everyone should minimise the tax they give the drunken monkeys in Canberra.

    I applaud corporations, businesses and individuals who are paying minimal taxes.

    No taxes, even.

    Well done.

  26. JohnA says:

    notafan #1652742, posted on April 10, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Only declaring income earned in Australia on your Australian tax return.

    Notafan, if you have non-exempt income from overseas, then the above statement becomes an example of tax evasion – the Australian tax law requires you to declare your income, other than exempt income (gold mining used to be exempt, I think), from ALL sources.

    ————-

    Sydney Boy #1652951, posted on April 10, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    So what is term used for people who buy from overseas websites and thus do not pay GST?

    Purchasers, consumers, end users, importers or something similar. There is nothing morally repugnant about buying from overseas, per se.

    Please search back through the Cat archives for my rant about this disingenuous misrepresentation, which you are attempting to perpetuate.

  27. C.L. says:

    Persian blockhead Sam Dastyari – who dropped out of Economics/Law at Sydney Uni and left with an Arts degree in politics instead – now claims to be head of a Star Chamber or something:

    BHP Billiton has refused to answer a Senate inquiry’s questions about a tax audit of its controversial Singapore marketing hub…

    You can’t just not answer because you don’t want to answer,” inquiry chairman Sam Dastyari said.

    “This is serious.”

    What are you going to do to make them answer, cockhead?

  28. faceache says:

    I very much doubt that I am paying the correct amount of tax. I am very slack when when it comes to my tax return and I am sure that I pay more than I should be. If the ATO is aware that there are deductions that I should be claiming, and I’m sure they would be aware if they troubled to look at my return, then it is immoral of them and hence the Government to not let me know.

  29. faceache says:

    I know, I know. I’m a bit dopey.

  30. notafan says:

    JohnA, I should have qualified that as Australian resident subsidiaries of multinationals. Of course Australian residents are generally liable to tax on income from all sources.

  31. john constantine says:

    The Dastardly Snidely Whiplash of Australian politics obviously sees this committee as being the equal of the hero aardvark’s beaconsfield.

    Watch snidely dastardly as he saves the Australian People from being put down a mineshaft by the evil multinationals.

  32. JohnA says:

    notafan, thanks for the clarification (which as Sir Humphrey said was not to make things clear, but to put you in the clear).
    🙂

  33. Robbo says:

    “I learned the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion in Year 7 Economics class.”

    Year 7 Economics class? You almost certainly went a lot further at school than Xenophon and Dastyari.

  34. candy says:

    For Nick it is all about the stunt & Nick,

    Nick Xenophon certainly puts a lot of product in his hair. It goes look a little greasy actually. I’m not sure he’s using the right stuff.

  35. Sydney Boy says:

    John A – merely pointing out the hypocrisy of those who do their best to avoid paying tax (GST on overseas purchases and the cash economy which avoids both GST and income tax) are the loudest voices claiming that companies “do not pay their fair share”. They are the ones who do not understand that we now have an (almost) global economy.

  36. The BigBlueCat says:

    CHAIR: Let us be clear about what the distinctions are in this. Tax avoidance is questionably moral behaviour. It is legal. Tax evasion is illegal behaviour. I think they are the two terms.

    Any of the company heads should have responded: but Senator Dastyari, it would be a breach of my fiduciary duty to shareholders to pay taxes I don’t lawfully have to pay! That would be morally questionable: To provide them with lower returns on their investments than they should be getting.

    Let’s be clear: in the past, Sam Datyari’s behaviors have been morally questionable.

  37. Tel says:

    BHP’s head of group tax Jane Michie also refused to answer repeated questions over whether it had received a position paper from the ATO setting out how much tax is owed.

    The Senate could ask the ATO directly. In turn the ATO would probably cite some privacy regulation, which is the sort of thing the Senate should know about to begin with. You know, protecting people’s privacy… “none of your bees Wax” type stuff.

    Mr Lock said the ATO had “internal fiefdoms that run an autocratic style of management”.

    “These cultural traits create a climate of fear within the ATO,” he said.

    Imagine how the ordinary taxpayer must feel. Quite intimidated I expect.

  38. notafan says:

    notafan, thanks for the clarification (which as Sir Humphrey said was not to make things clear, but to put you in the clear).

    I know I know as soon as I hit post I realised I had stuffed up. Should have known I would be pulled up.
    My point was you are obliged to do two things -declare all your income that is connected to Australia and claim the appropriate tax deductions.
    How can complying with Australian law be immoral?
    The trouble is that no tax jurisdiction has come to gripes with transactions that occur in cyberspace, other than the fall back position of residency. Starbucks in the UK is a different story considering there were physical stores selling tangible goods onshore. That sounds like some sort of transfer pricing debt loading game though. Not comparable to BHP exporting coal to China at all.
    If the large US corporations are parking large amounts of cash in non tax jurisdictions sounds to me like they need to be accountable to shareholders rather than tax authorities. Or are shareholders happy to take the capital gains that arise from the massive cash reserves? Not much incentive to pay dividends in the US.
    Maybe the US should introduce imputation and that would shut everyone up.

  39. The BigBlueCat says:

    I think it would be in the national interest for Senators Dastyari, Milne and Xenophon to demonstrate their knowledge of accounting profit, taxable income and earnings before this enquiry goes any further … Oh, wait ….

  40. notafan says:

    The Senate could ask the ATO directly.

    Sure, but the ATO is bound by the secrecy act which could see its representatives in jail if they breach it.
    If the senate wants the ATO to spill the beans on private citizens they need to change the law and that of course would mean that the ATO could be called to reveal the private tax affairs of anyone including the senators themselves.
    I’d like to see that.

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