Corporate outrage is spreading over the Tax Office’s aggressive
and wide-ranging reviews of billions of dollars in deductions
dating back as far as a decade. Taxes and penalties raised from big business have
reached $6.7 billion in the past two years, reports The Smage. And in the Fin Review, tax experts have called for a broad review of the GST, saying
the federal government needs to clear up lingering grey areas in the
rules.

Also on tax, too many company buybacks are tax scams, says Alan Kohler in the Smage.
The Tax Act permits companies to
“deem” that most of the payment for shares that it buys back is a
franked dividend. It’s up to them, but it’s not really a dividend, of
course, says Kohler. Share buybacks structured this way clearly are
discriminatory.
They are open to all but they suit some more than others; some
accept and get the tax benefit and the capital loss, while others
do not.

Also in the AFR, the major airlines have accused Sydney Airport
of trying to extract hundreds of millions of dollars from passengers
and airline shareholders by proposing excessive charges that would
benefit its own main shareholders such as Macquarie Bank.

Petrol prices are approaching a crunch point that will force
drivers to seek more fuel-efficient cars, reports the SMH. Jack Haley, a vehicle policy specialist with NRMA motoring and
services, predicts that if petrol prices remained at $1.20 a
litre motorists would be more inclined to buy a fuel-efficient
car the next time they upgraded.

On Wall Street, US stocks posted their biggest gains
in six weeks overnight as crude-oil prices fell back nearly 4% from record highs and
an upbeat report on consumer confidence emboldened investors. The Dow
Jones closed up 114.85 points at 10,405 – MarketWatch has a full report
here.

Peter Fray

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