The West

Opening Australia's doors to global business also means multinational companies must pay their fair share of tax, Treasurer Joe Hockey has told parliament.

While Australia already had a robust set of laws that dealt with "aggressive tax planning", there was still need for more action, Mr Hockey said.

He said the Government was moving to stop profit-shifting through more extensive inquiries and audits of multinational companies.

Multinationals avoiding their tax responsibilities was "patently unfair" for average Australians.

"Unfair on the Australian taxpayer and unfair on local businesses that are doing the right thing," Mr Hockey said.

"This government won't stand idly by while this is happening, and we are firmly committed to ensuring that Australian tax is paid on profits earned in Australia."

The government is taking action on three fronts, through domestic policy changes, strengthening administration through collaboration with the commissioner of taxation and through multi-lateral international change.

The commissioner is doubling his efforts by undertaking extensive enquiries and audits of multinational companies considered a risk to Australian tax collections.

On the international front, benefits are coming from the ATO's cooperation with tax authorities elsewhere.

The G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Cairns later in September will discuss their group's work on tax.

It is half-way through a two-year action plan led by the OECD, which includes a common reporting standard for the automatic exchange of financial account information between authorities to detect and deter tax evasion.

"This will help the commissioner of taxation to identify and catch tax cheats," Mr Hockey said.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen agreed tax evasion should be tackled but was disappointed Mr Hockey did not provide more detail in his ministerial statement.

"Words aren't good enough," he said. "Chest thumping does not beat tax evasion. Strong enforcement measures beats tax evasion."

Mr Hockey also took aim at the so-called "Australia Tax" where multinational companies - particularly technology companies - sell their products for much higher prices in Australia.

The West Australian

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