Hard-working Australians could lose thousands of dollars a year because of covert taxes in the 2017 budget, according to analysis by The New Daily.
Despite the Treasurer’s promise to ease cost-of-living pressures, it is becoming apparent that some Aussies will be slugged with a ‘university tax’, a ‘health tax’ and a ‘banking tax’, while high-income earners get tax relief.
In his budget night speech, Scott Morrison promised the nation: “The only people that will pay more tax on July 1 are banks and multinationals.”
However, a lower university debt repayment threshold, an increase to the Medicare levy, and a potentially backfiring bank levy may fuse in coming years into a ferocious attack on the disposable incomes of Australians who can least afford it.
By 2019, an unmarried Australian on $50,000 a year, with no children, no private health insurance and a $50,000 university debt, will pay almost $2000 more to the government than they do now.
This accounts for the budget’s higher HELP debt repayments and the rise in the Medicare levy from 2 to 2.5 per cent of taxable income.
What this figure doesn’t include is the potential impact of the bank levy, which is unquantifiable. We don’t know yet whether the big banks will slug savers, borrowers, credit card holders, bank employees, high-paid executives, external consultants or shareholders (and thus everyone with superannuation) to pay for it.
But it is a mathematical fact that someone in that group will suffer. And the banks are threatening to choose customers.
Anna Bligh, Australia’s most senior bank lobbyist, accused the Treasurer on Wednesday of failing to think through “the full implications of this tax”.
On Thursday, Ms Bligh said Treasury officials were unable to explain to the banks “a range of very important and very complex questions”, including how the government calculated the roughly $1.5 billion a year revenue figure. She said the “tax” was a “shambles” rushed into the budget “with indecent haste” that would hurt everyday Australians.
Meanwhile, higher-income earners are better off.
In last year’s budget, Mr Morrison gave tax relief to high earners by increasing the 32.5 per cent income tax threshold from $80,000 to $87,000.
In this year’s budget he cut the deficit levy, so anyone earning more than $180,000 will pay 2 percentage points less tax from June 30.
And on Wednesday the Treasurer promised that next year’s budget will contain tax cuts (potentially putting the return-to-surplus forecast at risk).