Tax Break for Big Business? Gillard Bent on Increasing Personal Income Tax, Land Tax and the GST

Article excerpt

THE ISSUE

IT'S tax time again for 12.6 million Australians.

According to the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, Australia has one of the lowest individual tax rates.

But the OECD also says we have one of the highest corporate tax rates and recommends Australia decreases company tax rates to attract more business into Australia, and broaden the GST to include services currently excluded like health, education and fresh food.

But the Australian Tax Office (ATO) says that between the 2005 and 2008 financial years, 40% of big business didn't even pay tax in Australia.

The Gillard Government has since announced a tax forum to be held in Canberra on October 4-5.

The increase of GST, land tax and personal tax, as well as the issue of attracting foreign investment into Australia and lowering corporate tax, will be discussed.

But with the cost of living increasing, one has to ask if our tax system is really fair on everyday Australians? Are other countries doing it better?

And other than riding naked on a white horse through the capital streets of Australia, is there anyway we can overhaul our tax system?

WHY IT'S IMPORTANT

THE tax system funds Australia's public goods and services such as education, health, law and order, defence and welfare.

According to the Australian Tax Office, about 12.6 million individuals will lodge income tax returns this financial year.

In 2008-09, individuals claimed $31.7 billion in total deductions, including $16.4 billion in work- related expenses.

Large business paid $37.76 billion in company tax for the 2008-09 financial year, representing 62.2% of total company tax collected.

In the 2005 to 2008 financial years, more than 40% of large companies paid $0 tax and half reported losses.

WHAT YOU MAY NOW KNOW

LAST year, around 66% of large businesses were public companies, including 75 superannuation funds with around 16 million member accounts. …