Treasury unclear on cause of mining tax shortfall

Treasury has told a parliamentary inquiry it is still unsure why the federal government’s mining tax failed to generate estimated revenues.

It will not know until miners lodge their tax returns.

Experts told the inquiry the tax was highly flawed and confessed the $2 billion figure was ‘optimistic’, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Treasury secretary Dr Martin Parkinson said his department was missing important information, like how companies depreciated their assets, and so could not figure out what went wrong.

“We actually won’t really be able to get to grips with what’s actually happening here until we either complete conversations with the industry or we are in a situation where the end of the financial year is completed and the firms have themselves put in their tax returns,” he said.

Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann asked why the Government approved something if important information for forecasts was still unknown.

Parkinson said companies did not have to provide information before their tax returns, like all taxpayers.

Parkinson said Treasury would reveal its latest forecast on Budget night but conceded they cannot come up with an exact figure owing to the complexity of taxes.

The SMH reported some economists have recommended the Gillard Government should expand the mining tax to include other minerals, not just iron ore.

Image: The Age

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