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ATO flooded with early tax returns

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The Australian Tax Office has received 650,000 returns to date. Photo: Getty
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Cash-strapped families are inundating the Australian Tax Office with early tax returns in the hope of securing tax cuts of up to $1080 from this week.

The rollout of $15 billion in tax cuts for workers earning under $126,000 a year is designed to stimulate the sluggish economy.

But it’s proving a big factor to also encourage workers to put their tax returns in earlier than usual.

The tax cut, dubbed “The Lamington” because it is known as the Low And Middle Income (LAMIO) offset will double the existing tax bonus of $530 to $1080.

“The 650,000 returns that have been lodged thus far is quite a bit above what it’s been in previous years,” Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said.

“Which we’ve anticipated and the ATO is prepared for.”

However, Mr Sukkar would not be drawn on calls from the former union leader Bill Kelty’s call for further cuts to the top tax rate.

Under the changes legislated by the Morrison government, the top tax rate of 45 cents in the dollar will remain but it would only apply to workers with incomes above $200,000.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese also would not be drawn but said he was pleased the Stage 1 tax cuts will now be paid after the Morrison government failed to legislate the package before July 1.

“We welcome that. We said that that was a priority and indeed the priority should be also for the government to give consideration to bring forward of Stage two of the tax cuts that are due to take place in 2022,” he said.

“What that would do is give a tax cut to everyone earning above $90,000; once it reached $120,000 a tax cut will be $1,350.”

Mr Albanese has still not outlined which ALP policies – including negative gearing and dividend imputation – he will retain.

“No. I’ve said very clearly that Labor will look at all of our policies. We will make announcements down the track about those policies. We support a progressive tax system.”