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The great tax swindle: how concessions and exemptions benefit the wealthiest

Greg Jericho comments in The Guardian (27.3.18) on Australia's complex and opaque system of tax concessions and exemptions, suggesting that more federal money is spent keeping the wealthiest households wealthy than on Newstart or the disability support pension.

'A report by Anglicare has found that eight of the largest tax concessions and exemptions cost just over $135bn a year in revenue foregone, and all disproportionately benefit high income and high wealth households. Anglicare’s report, The Cost of Privilege, uses research undertaken by Per Capita to highlight that some $68.5bn worth of taxation concessions and exemption goes to the wealthiest 20% of Australian households – more than the $68.1bn annual cost of the disability support pension (DSP) and assistance to families and children.

'Each year the treasury department releases a statement on the costs of various taxation exemptions and concessions. But the Anglicare report goes further by breaking down who benefits.

'The report looked at superannuation tax concessions, negative gearing, capital gains tax concessions, the use of discretionary trusts, the exemption from the GST of private health insurance and education, and the exemption from capital gains tax of residence.

'It found that $68,55bn each year goes to the wealthiest 20% of households, compared with $6.1bn that goes to the the poorest 20%.

'... The biggest taxation exemption covered in the report, the capital gains tax exemption on the family home, is quite possibly the least likely policy ever to be changed. Despite the $74bn foregone in revenue each year, it would be an extremely brave political party to go to an election promising to tax the family home.'


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