Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hockey’s Tax Changes a Nudge and a Wink to the Wealthy

Yesterday’s tax changes were a shameless nod to those who can afford to pay a bit more that under a Liberal Government their interests will be served at the expense of those who can least afford it.

Treasurer Hockey confirmed that 16,000 high income earners will get tax breaks, while 2.7 million small businesses and 3.6 million low income earners will lose tax breaks and be hit with higher taxes.

Small businesses are missing out on the Labor intiative of an instant asset write-off, while 110,000 small businesses will miss out on a lower threshold for the loss carry back provisions.

The Liberal Government has scrapped Labor’s 15 per cent concessional tax rate on earnings above $100,000 in superannuation income streams, that is, super balances over $2 million. This comes on the back of their decision to scrap the Low Income Super Contribution and reimpose a 15% superannuation tax on low income and part-time workers, with shop assistants, waiters, bartenders and cleaners being hardest hit – 60 per cent of these are women. Women are already retiring with less in their super accounts because of the disparity in their pay compared to men.

The Liberal Government has also watered down Labor’s efforts to get multinationals to pay their fair share of tax. For example, Google paid only $74,176 in tax in Australia 2011, despite estimated revenues of $1 billion. Labor’s rules were designed to stop profits being shipped overseas. The Treasurer’s amendments help multinationals and will mean $700 million less in tax revenue.

These changes unambiguously demonstrate the priorities of this Government. Multinational companies and high income earners get tax breaks, while small businesses and low and middle income earners miss out.

So much too for the much touted ‘budget emergency’ the Liberal Party spoke about prior to the election! The changes announced have given up $3 billion over the forward estimates. When it comes to tax breaks for big business, it seems there is plenty of money to splash around.

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