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May 13, 2021

A little policy please

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Stop Labors’ retiree tax’ had its first full-page ad in our local newspaper last week.

Matthew Fraser, Richmond’s LNP candidate, has been enthusiastically spruiking the same on his home YouTube videos: ‘the retiree tax will directly hit the pockets of retiree Tweed pensioners.’

So is there a ‘retiree tax’ that pensioners will have to pay? Take it from an old accountant: the answer is NO! It’s just a Sydney/Canberra LNP political fear campaign sadly targeting aged pensioners.

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What Labor has suggested is the abolition of a tax credit (a tax advantage) to those wealthy enough to own a decent share portfolio.

A Tweed retiree pensioner on $698.10 a fortnight wouldn’t know what a share portfolio looked like.

But Matthew says, ‘Let’s keep working together to expose Justine Elliot’s Retiree Tax. Seniors deserve better.’

How about a real policy, Matthew, of increasing seniors’ pensions? No 65-plus person can reasonably live on the current pension.

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  1. The principles behind dividend imputation are not rocket science. The vast majority of people however, now suddenly passionately for or against Labor’s policy, generally end up demonstrating that they haven’t taken the trouble to aquatint themselves with even the basics. This general state of inertia or indifference makes it easy for both sides to get away with spurious claims with the debate degenerating into sound bytes, cliché, mythology and intergenerational warfare.

    As an ‘old accountant’ it’s a bit surprising that you have fallen into generalisations about who owns shares – not pensioners you suggest. If this was the case why did Labor find it necessary to back track so quickly post announcement, to exempt them? Because they came out in numbers to protest the effect on their meagre incomes. Many, many ordinary people (not just the cigar and pin stripe brigade) dabbled in the share market at the time of the Commonwealth Bank and Telstra floats . Shareholder
    does not equal fat cat surely in your experience.

    I’m also surprised by your statement that: ‘What Labor has suggested is the abolition of a tax credit (a tax advantage) to those wealthy enough to own a decent share portfolio.’ What is proposed is the abolition of a tax credit to individuals (apart from aged pensioners) with insufficient income to pay tax (including any income derived from any gross [pre-taxed] dividend payments). This group isn’t exclusively the 60+ cohort on superannuation income.

    By contrast many with very decent portfolios will continue to enjoy the tax credits from their franked shares because they are taxed wage and salary earners or very comfortable retirees, now taxed because there is no longer limitless tax-free super pension income.

    Myths abound on both sides but finally, as an ‘old accountant’ can you define a ‘tax advantage’. I have heard of tax deductions, tax rebates and tax credits and I understand that franking credits are the latter not either of the first two. Rather important distinctions. Is ‘tax advantage’ though a technical term within taxation law and how is it relevant to this issue?


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