|An aspect of fiscal policy|
Income taxes are the most significant form of taxation in Australia, and collected by the federal government through the Australian Taxation Office. Australian GST revenue is collected by the Federal government, and then paid to the states under a distribution formula determined by the Commonwealth Grants Commission.
The Government of Australia is the government of the Commonwealth of Australia, a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. It is also commonly referred to as the Australian Government, the Commonwealth Government, Her Majesty's Government, or the Federal Government.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is an Australian government statutory agency and the principal revenue collection body for the Australian government. The ATO has responsibility for administering the Australian federal taxation system, superannuation legislation, and other associated matters. Responsibility for the operations of the ATO are within the portfolio of the federal Treasurer.
The Commonwealth Grants Commission is an independent statutory Australian body established in 1933 that advises the Australian Government on financial assistance to the states and territories of Australia under section 96 of the Australian Constitution. The Commission recommends how the revenues raised from the goods and services tax (GST) should be distributed to the states and territories to achieve horizontal fiscal equalisation (HFE), a central feature of the Australian federation.
Australia maintains a relatively low tax burden in comparison with other wealthy, developed nations, at 27.8% of GDP in 2018.
When the first Governor, Governor Phillip, arrived in New South Wales in 1788, he had a Royal Instruction that gave him power to impose taxation if the colony needed it. The first taxes in Australia were raised to help pay for the completion of Sydney's first gaol and provide for the orphans of the colony. Import duties were put on spirits, wine and beer and later on luxury goods.
Admiral Arthur Phillip was a Royal Navy officer and the first Governor of New South Wales who founded the British penal colony that later became the city of Sydney, Australia.
New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In March 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 7.9 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.
After 1824 the Government of New South Wales raised extra revenue from customs and excise duties. These were the most important sources of revenue for the colony throughout the 19th century. Taxes were raised on spirits, beer, tobacco, cigars and cigarettes. These taxes would vary between each of the Australian colonies, and this state of affairs remained in place after the colonies achieved statehood.
Federalism was adopted, as a constitutional principle, in Australia on 1 January 1901 – the date upon which the six self-governing Australian Colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia federated, formally constituting the Commonwealth of Australia. It remains a federation of those six "original States" under the Commonwealth Constitution.
Thomas de la Condaminewas appointed as the first Collector of the Internal Revenue on 7 April 1827 with the actual office of the Collector of the Internal Revenue established on 1 May 1827 by Governor Ralph Darling. When de la Condamine's appointment was not confirmed by the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies William Huskisson, the duties fell to James Busby who held the position until December 1835 when the position was filled by William McPhereson. The Collector of the Internal Revenue collected all revenue, such as moneys received from the sale or rental of land except that from customs duties and court fees. The Internal Revenue Office was abolished on 4 January 1837 with its business becoming the responsibility of the Colonial Treasurer.
General Sir Ralph Darling, GCH was a British Army officer who served as Governor of New South Wales from 1825 to 1831. He is popularly described as a tyrant, accused of torturing prisoners and banning theatrical entertainment, but he also built new roads and extended the boundaries of the colony. Local geographical features named after him include the Darling River and Darling Harbour in Sydney.
The Secretary of State for War and the Colonies was a British cabinet-level position responsible for the army and the British colonies. The Department was created in 1801. In 1854 it was split into the separate offices of Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for the Colonies. The Secretary was supported by an Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies.
William Huskisson was a British statesman, financier, and Member of Parliament for several constituencies, including Liverpool.
Colonial governments also raised money from fees on wills and stamp duty, which is a tax imposed on certain kinds of documents. In 1880, the Colony of Tasmania imposed a tax on earnings received from the profits of public companies.
Income taxes were introduced in the late 19th Century in a few of the colonies before Federation. In 1884, a general tax on income was introduced in South Australia, and in 1895 income tax was introduced in New South Wales at the rate of six pence in the pound, or 2.5%.Federal income tax was first introduced in 1915, in order to help fund Australia’s war effort in the First World War. Between 1915 and 1942, income taxes were levied at both the state and federal level.
Income tax in Australia is imposed by the federal government on the taxable income of individuals and corporations. State governments have not imposed income taxes since World War II. On individuals, income tax is levied at progressive rates, and at one of two rates for corporations. The income of partnerships and trusts is not taxed directly, but is taxed on its distribution to the partners or beneficiaries. Income tax is the most important source of revenue for government within the Australian taxation system. Income tax is collected on behalf of the federal government by the Australian Taxation Office.
The Taxation Administration Act 1953 was assented to on 4 March 1953.
In 1972, the government of William McMahon appointed the NSW Supreme Court judge Kenneth Asprey to conduct a full and wide-ranging review of the tax system. Although controversial when completed for the Whitlam Government in 1975, the Asprey report on taxation has acted "as a guide and inspiration to governments and their advisers for the following 25 years." The main recommendations of the report have all been implemented and are today part of Commonwealth taxation in Australia.
On 20 September 1985, Capital gains tax was introduced. The GST replaced the older wholesale sales tax in 2000. In July 2001, the Financial Institutions Duty was abolished. Between 2002 and 2005, Bank Account Debits Tax was abolished.
On the 1 July 2012 the Federal government introduced a Carbon price, requiring large emitters of carbon dioxide to purchase permits, the government also introduced a Minerals Resource Rent Tax, originally called a resources 'super profits' tax in the Henry Tax Report. The revenue from the carbon pricing regime was used to reduce income tax by increasing the tax-free threshold and increase pensions and welfare payments, as well as introducing compensation for some affected industries. The Carbon Tax and associated Resources Rent tax were repealed in 2014 .
The Government has brought back a duty on financial institutions in the form of a 'major bank levy' on the five largest banks in Australia.
Income taxes on individuals are imposed at the federal level. This is the most significant source of revenue in Australia. State governments have not imposed income taxes since World War II.
Personal income taxes in Australia are imposed on the personal income of each person on a progressive basis, with higher rates applying to higher income levels. Unlike some other countries, personal income tax in Australia is imposed on an individual and not on a family unit.
Individuals are also taxed on their share of any partnership or trust profits to which they are entitled for the financial year.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT) in the context of the Australian taxation system applies to the capital gain made on disposal of any asset, except for specific exemptions. The most significant exemption is the family home. Rollover provisions apply to some disposals, one of the most significant is transfers to beneficiaries on death, so that the CGT is not a quasi death duty.
CGT operates by having net gains treated as taxable income in the tax year an asset is sold or otherwise disposed of. If an asset is held for at least 1 year then any gain is first discounted by 50% for individual taxpayers, or by 331⁄3% for superannuation funds. Net capital losses in a tax year may be carried forward and offset against future capital gains. However, capital losses cannot be offset against income.
Personal use assets and collectables are treated as separate categories and losses on those are quarantined so they can only be applied against gains in the same category, not other gains. This works to stop taxpayers subsidising hobbies from their investment earnings.
A company tax is paid by companies and corporations on their profits. Unlike personal income taxes which use a progressive scale, company tax is calculated at a flat rate of 30% (25% for small businesses, which are defined as companies with revenue of less than $2 million per year). Tax is paid on corporate income at the corporate level before it is distributed to shareholders as dividends.
A tax credit (called a franking credit) is available to resident shareholders who receive the dividends to reflect the tax already paid at the corporate level (a process known as dividend imputation). A withholding tax applies on unfranked dividends paid to non-resident shareholders.
Where all or part of the net trust income is distributed to either non-residents or minors, the trustee of that trust is assessed on that share on behalf of the beneficiary. In this case, the beneficiaries must declare that share of net trust income on their individual income tax returns, and also claim a credit for the amount of tax the trustee paid on their behalf.
Where the trust accumulates net trust income, the trustee is assessed on that accumulated income at the highest individual marginal rate.
In both cases the trustee will be issued a notice of assessment subsequent to lodging the trust tax return.
A goods and services tax (GST) is a value added tax levied by the federal government at 10% on the supply of most goods and services by entities registered for the tax. The GST was introduced in Australia on 1 July 2000 by the then Howard Liberal government. A number of supplies are GST-free (e.g., many basic foodstuffs, medical and educational services, exports), input-taxed (residential accommodation, financial services, etc.), exempt (Government charges) or outside the scope of GST.
The revenue from this tax is distributed to the States.
State governments do not levy any sales taxes though they do impose stamp duties on a range of transactions.
In summary, the GST rate of 10% is charged on most goods and services consumed in Australia. A business which is registered for GST would include the GST in the sale prices it charges. However, a business can claim a credit for the GST paid on business expenses and other inputs (called a GST credit). The business would pay to the Tax Office the difference between GST charged on sales and GST credits.
Two types of sales are treated differently:
Local governments are typically funded largely by taxes on land value (council rates) on residential, industrial and commercial properties. In addition, some State governments levy tax on land values for investors and primary residences of high value. The State governments also levy stamp duties on transfers of land and other similar transactions.
Fire Service Levies are also commonly applied to domestic house insurance and business insurance contracts. These levies are required under State Government law to assist in funding the fire services in each State.
The Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) is an excise tax levied by the Australian government on all passengers departing on international flights or maritime transport.The PMC replaced the departure tax in 1995 and was initially described as a charge to partially offset the cost to government of the provision of passenger facilitation at airports, principally customs, immigration and quarantine functions. It is classified by the International Air Transport Association as a departure tax, rather than an airport charge, as its revenue does not directly contribute to passenger processing at airports or sea ports.
The Federal Government imposes excise taxes on goods such as cigarettes, petrol, and alcohol. The rates imposed may change in February and August each year in response to changes in the consumer price index.
The excise tax on commonly used fuels in Australia as of June 2006 are as follows:[ citation needed ]
Note: Petrol used for aviation is taxed at $0.02854 per litre
Luxury Car Tax is payable by businesses which sell or import luxury cars, where the value of the car is above $66,331, or $75,526 for fuel-efficient cars with a fuel consumption of less than 7L per 100 km.
Customs duties are imposed on many imported goods, such as alcohol, tobacco products, perfume, and other items. Some of these goods can be purchased duty-free at duty-free shops.
Payroll taxes in Australia are levied by state governments on employers based on wages paid by them. Payroll taxes in Australia are different in each state. Typically the tax applies to all wages above a threshold. Groups of companies may be taxed as a single entity where their operations are significantly integrated or related.
Current Payroll Tax Rates and Thresholds
|State||Annual Threshold||Tax Rate|
|New South Wales||$750,000||5.45%|
|Australian Capital Territory||$1,750,000||6.85%|
Queensland and the Northern Territory payroll tax rates are effective rates on payrolls above $5.5 million and $5.75 million respectively. All other jurisdictions levy marginal rates. Some companies are eligible for deductions, concessions and exemptions.
From 1 July 2014:
From 1 July 2013:
Employers, or a group of related businesses, whose total Australian wages exceed the current NSW monthly threshold, are required to pay NSW payroll tax.
Each monthly payment or 'nil' remittance is due seven days after the end of each month or the next business day if the seventh day is a weekend (i.e. August payment is due by 7 September). The annual reconciliation and payment or 'nil' remittance is due by 21 July.
Effective July 2007 - In NSW, payroll tax is levied under the Payroll Tax Act 2007 and administered by the Taxation Administration Act 1996.
Prior to 1 July 2007 - In NSW, payroll tax was levied under the Payroll Tax Act 1971 and administered by the Taxation Administration Act 1996.
From 1 July 2012:
Companies or groups of companies that pay $1,100,000 or more a year in Australian wages must pay payroll tax.There are deductions, concessions and exemptions available to those that are eligible.
From 1 July 2012:
A Payroll Tax liability arises in South Australia when an employer (or a Group of employers) has a wages bill in excess of $600,000 for services rendered by employees anywhere in Australia if any of those services are rendered or performed in South Australia.
From 1 July 2012:
From 1 July 2013:
From 1 July 2014:
Payroll Tax is a general purpose tax assessed on the wages paid by an employer in Western Australia. The tax is self-assessed in that the employer calculates the liability and then pays the appropriate amount to the Office of State Revenue, by way of a monthly, quarterly or annual return.
From 1 July 2014:
On 8 December 2004 new legislation was passed making it mandatory for an employer that has, or is a member of a group that has, an expected payroll tax liability equal to or greater than $100,000 per annum, to lodge and pay their payroll tax return via Revenue Online (ROL). This amendment to the Payroll Tax Assessment Act 2002 is effective 1 July 2006.
Fringe Benefits Tax is the tax applied by the Australian Taxation Office to most, although not all, fringe benefits, which are generally non-cash benefits. Most fringe benefits are also reported on employee payment summaries for inclusion on personal income tax returns that must be lodged annually.
There is no inheritance tax in Australia, with all states in Australia abolishing what was known as death duties in 1979following the lead of the Queensland Government led by Joh Bjelke-Petersen.
Private pensions (known as superannuation in Australia) may be taxed at up to three points, depending on the circumstances: at the point of contribution to a fund, on investment income and at the time benefits are received. In some circumstances, no tax is applicable at all.
The compulsory nature of Australian Superannuation means that it is sometimes regarded as being similar to social security taxes levied in other nations. This is more frequently the case when comparisons are being made between the tax burden of respective nations.
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Taxation in Australia
A tax is a mandatory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed upon a taxpayer by a governmental organization in order to fund various public expenditures. A failure to pay, along with evasion of or resistance to taxation, is punishable by law. Taxes consist of direct or indirect taxes and may be paid in money or as its labour equivalent.
The United States of America has separate federal, state, and local governments with taxes imposed at each of these levels. Taxes are levied on income, payroll, property, sales, capital gains, dividends, imports, estates and gifts, as well as various fees. In 2010, taxes collected by federal, state, and municipal governments amounted to 24.8% of GDP. In the OECD, only Chile and Mexico are taxed less as a share of their GDP.
A pay-as-you-earn tax (PAYE) or pay-as-you-go is a withholding tax on income payments to employees. Amounts withheld are treated as advance payments of income tax due. They are refundable to the extent they exceed tax as determined on tax returns. PAYE may include withholding the employee portion of insurance contributions or similar social benefit taxes. In most countries, they are determined by employers but subject to government review. PAYE is deducted from each paycheck by the employer and must be remitted promptly to the government. Most countries refer to income tax withholding by other terms, including pay-as-you-go tax.
Payroll taxes are taxes imposed on employers or employees, and are usually calculated as a percentage of the salaries that employers pay their staff. Payroll taxes generally fall into two categories: deductions from an employee’s wages, and taxes paid by the employer based on the employee's wages. The first kind are taxes that employers are required to withhold from employees' wages, also known as withholding tax, pay-as-you-earn tax (PAYE), or pay-as-you-go tax (PAYG) and often covering advance payment of income tax, social security contributions, and various insurances. The second kind is a tax that is paid from the employer's own funds and that is directly related to employing a worker. These can consist of fixed charges or be proportionally linked to an employee's pay. The charges paid by the employer usually cover the employer's funding of the social security system, medicare, and other insurance programs. The economic burden of the payroll tax falls almost entirely on the worker, regardless of whether the tax is remitted by the employer or the employee, as the employers’ share of payroll taxes is passed on to employees in the form of lower wages than would otherwise be paid. Because payroll taxes fall exclusively on wages and not on returns to financial or physical investments, payroll taxes may contribute to underinvestment in human capital such as higher education.
Taxation in Canada is a prerogative shared between the federal government and the various provincial and territorial legislatures. Under the Constitution Act, 1867, taxation powers are vested in the Parliament of Canada under s. 91(3) for:
The goods and services tax (GST) in Australia is a value added tax of 10% on most goods and services sales, with some exemptions and concessions. GST is levied on most transactions in the production process, but is in many cases refunded to all parties in the chain of production other than the final consumer.
An ad valorem tax is a tax whose amount is based on the value of a transaction or of property. It is typically imposed at the time of a transaction, as in the case of a sales tax or value-added tax (VAT). An ad valorem tax may also be imposed annually, as in the case of a real or personal property tax, or in connection with another significant event. In some countries a stamp duty is imposed as an ad valorem tax.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a value-added tax or consumption tax for goods and services consumed in New Zealand.
A withholding tax, or a retention tax, is an income tax to be paid to the government by the payer of the income rather than by the recipient of the income. The tax is thus withheld or deducted from the income due to the recipient. In most jurisdictions, withholding tax applies to employment income. Many jurisdictions also require withholding tax on payments of interest or dividends. In most jurisdictions, there are additional withholding tax obligations if the recipient of the income is resident in a different jurisdiction, and in those circumstances withholding tax sometimes applies to royalties, rent or even the sale of real estate. Governments use withholding tax as a means to combat tax evasion, and sometimes impose additional withholding tax requirements if the recipient has been delinquent in filing tax returns, or in industries where tax evasion is perceived to be common.
The constitutional basis of taxation in Australia is predominantly found in sections 51(ii), 90, 53, 55, and 96, of the Constitution of Australia. Their interpretation by the High Court of Australia has been integral to the functioning and evolution of federalism in Australia.
Taxes in New Zealand are collected at a national level by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) on behalf of the Government of New Zealand. National taxes are levied on personal and business income, and on the supply of goods and services. There is no capital gains tax, although certain "gains" such as profits on the sale of patent rights are deemed to be income – income tax does apply to property transactions in certain circumstances, particularly speculation. There are currently no land taxes, but local property taxes (rates) are managed and collected by local authorities. Some goods and services carry a specific tax, referred to as an excise or a duty, such as alcohol excise or gaming duty. These are collected by a range of government agencies such as the New Zealand Customs Service. There is no social security (payroll) tax.
Taxes in India are levied by the Central Government and the state governments. Some minor taxes are also levied by the local authorities such as the Municipality.
Taxation in the British Virgin Islands is relatively simple by comparative standards; photocopies of all of the tax laws of the British Virgin Islands would together amount to about 200 pages of paper. Taxation in the British Virgin Islands is mostly notable for what is not subject to taxation. The British Virgin Islands has:
The main fuel tax in Australia is an excise tax, to which is added a Goods and Services Tax ("GST"). Both taxes are levied by the federal government. In Australia, like Canada, the GST is applied on top of the fuel excise tax. In some cases, businesses may be entitled to exemptions or rebates for fuel excise tax, including tax credits and certain excise-free fuel sources.
Employers, or a group of related businesses, whose total Australian wages exceed the current NSW monthly threshold are required to pay NSW payroll tax. Broadly speaking, the tax amount is a percentage of taxable wages paid within NSW. This percentage is called the payroll tax rate.
Taxation in Norway is levied by the central government, the county municipality (fylkeskommune) and the municipality (kommune). In 2012 the total tax revenue was 42.2% of the gross domestic product (GDP). Many direct and indirect taxes exist. The most important taxes — in terms of revenue — are VAT, income tax in the petroleum sector, employers’ social security contributions and tax on "ordinary income" for persons. Most direct taxes are collected by the Norwegian Tax Administration (Skatteetaten) and most indirect taxes are collected by the Norwegian Customs and Excise Authorities.
NOTE: The general information, and the tables in particular, contained in this page was taken from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) website www.sars.gov.za and/or the South African Reserve Bank Website www.resbank.co.za unless specifically noted.
Taxation in Estonia consists of state and local taxes. A relatively high proportion of government revenue comes from consumption taxes whilst revenue from capital taxes is one of the lowest in the European Union.
Bermuda is considered a tax haven; however, Bermuda does levy a number of taxes, such as a payroll tax on employers and land taxes.