People earning low-to-middle incomes will be hardest hit by rising average tax rates over the coming decade, the analysis released by the Parliamentary Budget Office found.
But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says under the government’s tax plan, low and middle income earners are receiving up to $530 in immediate relief each year.”Our personal income tax plan is making income tax lower, fairer and simpler for all Australians,” he told AAP.
The budget office’s analysis found tax rates will go up largely because as wages rise, people will pay more tax on their increased income. It noted the government’s tax cuts will slow the process. Mr Frydenberg said the government’s move to lift tax brackets is also designed to protect Australians from the phenomenon, known as “bracket creep”. Labor spokesman Jim Chalmers said the budget office’s report showed the government is not managing the economy for middle Australians.
“At a time when wages are growing at record lows and households are struggling to keep pace with the cost of living, now is not the time to be prioritising tax relief at the top end,” he said.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said strong economic and employment growth will mean people’s pay packets get heavier in time. “Of course wages over time are expected to go up, and it’s not just our view, that is also the view of the Reserve Bank governor and that is the orthodox view of how wages evolve,” he told Sky News on Friday. The economy in 2017/18 expanded at its fastest annual pace in the latest quarter since the mining boom six years ago, figures released on Wednesday showed.
Workers are being reassured by the federal government their income tax is going down, after Labor used new budget analysis to argue the economy is not working in the interests of middle Australians.