In 2018, the country’s largest union group, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), commissioned the Tax Justice Network Australia to analyse possible tax avoidance by for-profit aged care companies – resulting in a full Senate Inquiry.
Now the ANMF has released yet another report targeting for-profits, which it will be submitting it to the Royal Commission.
The report – All in the Family: Tax and Financial Practices of Australia’s Largest Family Owned Aged Care Companies – has accused some of Australia’s biggest family-owned operators – namely TriCare, Arcare, Hall & Prior, McKenzie and Aegis – of using complex corporate structures to reduce their tax bill.
TriCare, for example, one of QLD’s largest for-profit aged care businesses, comes under fire for its use of companies in Norfolk Island. Norfolk Island is an Australia territory but was a “tax haven” until losing self-government and being brought into the national system in 2016. Pre-existing Norfolk Island companies continue to be exempt from capital gains tax.
Arcare was also investigated over its use of trusts, with the report claiming that “tax avoidance from interest free loans from the trusts to directors and family members have caught the attention of the ATO in the past but appear to continue into the present”.
The report urges the Federal Government to mandate that aged care businesses receiving more than $10 million a year in taxpayer funding should file publicly accessible company accounts – and has called for a public registry of beneficial ownership and minimum 30 per cent tax on distributions from discretionary trusts.
ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler (pictured appearing at the Royal Commission earlier this year), a vocal critic of private operators and shareholders reaping profits from aged care, said providers “must be made accountable for the millions of dollars they receive in government subsidies”.
Read the full report here.