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How savings are taxed - a sketch in five slides

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How Australians save – and are taxed by the Commonwealth.

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How savings are taxed - a sketch in five slides

  1. 1. How savings are taxed A sketch in five slides May 2015
  2. 2. How do households save? What is the effective marginal tax rate of different savings vehicles for an average income earner? How Australians save – and are taxed by the Commonwealth 2 -10 0 10 20 30 40 -10 0 10 20 30 40 Per centPer cent Source: ABS cat. no. 5232.0, 6554.0 and Australian Treasury Source: Australian Treasury – see notes slide Other 11.4% Currency and deposits 9.1% Shares 6.5% Owner occupied housing 38.1% Investment properties 13.3% Superannuation 21.7%
  3. 3. The family home is taxed favourably Home ownership has long been the Great Australian Dream. It also provides shelter and a foundation for family and social stability. Current treatment reflects this – no tax is paid on the value people earn from living in the home, nor is any capital gain from the property taxed when the property is sold. 3
  4. 4. Superannuation and retirement income 4 Three pillars support Australia’s retirement income system. Superannuation is designed to play a major role in supplementing the Age Pension. Contributions to super and super fund earnings are generally taxed at 15 per cent. And when money is withdrawn from the super fund during retirement, this is generally tax-free. AGE PENSION A universal means-tested publicly funded pension SUPERANNUATION GUARANTEE Compulsory, fully funded private savings VOLUNTARY SAVINGS Voluntary private savings • Safety-net level of income including longevity risk protection • Alleviates poverty • A tax-assisted means for additional self- provision in retirement through superannuation • Also includes savings outside superannuation AGE PENSION A universal means-tested publicly funded pension SUPERANNUATION GUARANTEE Compulsory, fully funded private savings VOLUNTARY SAVINGS Voluntary private savings • Safety-net level of income including longevity risk protection • Alleviates poverty • Employers make mandatory contributions for eligible employees • Ensures a minimum level of employee income is saved for retirement (increasing from 9.5% to 12%) • A tax-assisted means for additional self- provision in retirement through superannuation • Also includes savings outside superannuation
  5. 5. Dividend imputation: removing double taxation Companies pay tax on their profits. When Australian shareholders receive dividends from Australian companies, “dividend imputation” allows company tax paid in Australia to be passed onto shareholders as tax credits. Those credits can offset the shareholder’s personal tax liability. Australian investors may favour Australian shares, as the tax credit means they have to pay less tax on the dividends they receive. 5
  6. 6. Negative gearing and investment taxation Negative gearing describes a situation when the expense of having that investment (which includes interest payments on borrowings to invest) exceeds the income from that investment (such as rent from an investment property or dividends from shares). Allowing tax deductions for costs associated with producing income is a fundamental feature of Australia’s tax system. Allowing a tax deduction for interest expenses is not a tax concession. There is a tax concession, however, in the current tax system, as only half of capital gains from selling assets such as investment properties and share investments are taxed. 6
  7. 7. Notes to slide 2 The graph shows the nominal effective marginal tax rates, which show the actual tax paid as a proportion of the nominal pre-tax return, by savings vehicles for an average income earner with a marginal tax rate of 32.5 (plus a two per cent Medicare levy). It assumes: • Six per cent nominal return (except shares, which assumes six per cent after company tax) • Assets are all held for 25 years, and for rental property, 50 per cent of the return is attributable to capital gain and 50 per cent to rental income and superannuation contributions do not exceed the prescribed contribution caps • No assets have been negatively geared. The own home has a nominal effective marginal tax rate of zero, as it is purchased out of after-tax income, but subsequent returns on it are not taxed • Bank accounts, property and shares also use after-tax income but their returns are taxed depending on the vehicle • The nominal effective marginal tax rate for superannuation is negative because contributions to superannuation are made from pre-tax and are only taxed at 15 per cent. For example, $100 of pre-tax labour income would result in a super contribution of $85 (after 15 per cent tax) but an individual would only receive $65.50 if they put it into other saving vehicles because of the application of their marginal tax rate (34.5 per cent in this case). • Individuals receive tax credits on domestic shares for the company tax paid in Australia which offset the shareholder’s personnel tax liability. 7

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