Albanese promises to double tax relief for average-income Australians in stage-three overhaul (2024)

Anthony Albanese has pledged to more than double tax relief for Australians on the average income in a suite of low- and middle-income tax cuts paid for by trimming benefits to high-income earners.

At the National Press Club on Thursday the prime minister will defend Labor’s plan by arguing it will still deliver “a tax cut for every taxpayer” and that modification of the stage-three tax cuts was “the right thing to do” in changed economic circ*mstances.

The old stage-three cuts are dead. Long live Labor’s new policy, which 90% of Australians will cheer | Greg JerichoRead more

“Some would say that we should stay the course, even if it means going to the wrong destination,” he will say, according to advance excerpts of the speech. “To them I say, we are choosing a better way forward given the changed circ*mstances. We are doing the right thing, for the right reasons.”

Facing accusations from the opposition of having lied to the public about its election commitment to maintain the stage-three tax cuts, the government will also release Treasury advice which it argues justify what Albanese will call a “change in our policy”.

He will also flag that the “broader and better tax cuts are not the beginning of our actions on cost of living – and they will not be the end”, indicating further help in or before the May budget.

Chart showing a comparison of effects on income earners by the stage-three tax cuts before and after the Albanese government’s reported changes

Officially unveiling the new plan, Albanese will announce that reducing the lowest rate of tax to 16% from 19% will mean “taxpayers earning less than $45,000 will now receive a tax cut” and “every working Australian will pay less tax on the first $45,000 that they earn”.

“This is a significant boost for the take-home pay of Australians on modest incomes and people working part-time,” he will say.

“An early educator or an aged care worker or a cleaner earning $50,000 will receive a tax cut worth $929 a year.

“Someone working at Australia’s largest employer, Woolworths, earning $40,000 will now get a tax cut of over $650.

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“Under Scott Morrison’s plan, they would have got nothing,” he will say, a claim the Coalition and business groups have rejected by noting those on lower incomes have already benefited from the first two stages of the tax cuts and accusing the government of breaking its promise to keep the stage-three plan.

In addition to reducing the tax rate on income between $18,200 to $45,000, the Albanese government will also shift the low-income threshold at which the Medicare levy applies, benefiting 1.2 million low-income earners who will either remain exempt from paying the levy or pay less in tax.

Albanese promises that “all 13.6 million taxpayers” will receive a tax cut. Labor caucus was told on Wednesday that 84% of Australians would be better off, although the stage-three tax cuts will be less generous for higher-income earners.

Table showing a comparison of effects on income earners by the stage-three tax cuts before and after the Albanese government’s reported changes

That is because the new plan retains the 37% tax rate, which will apply from income earned between $135,000 and $190,000.

The stage-three tax cuts, legislated to take effect in July, would have flattened the marginal rate of tax on income between $45,000 and $200,000.

High-income earners earning $200,000 or more “will still get a substantial tax cut, over $4,500”, Albanese will say, although this is half the $9,000 they were set to receive under the stage-three tax cuts.

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Stage-three tax cuts: cabinet approves new cost-of-living relief for workers on less than $150,000Read more

The prime minister will say the new policy will help with the cost of living and also encourage parents such as women with young children to return to work.

He will say taxes will be reduced for:

  • A person on the average wage of $73,000 who will get a tax cut of more than $1,500 a year, or double what they would have received.

  • A full-time worker earning $100,000 a year who get an extra $800, taking their tax cut to more than $2,100.

  • A family on the average household income of about $130,000 – with one partner earning $80,000 and the other $50,000 – who will receive a combined cut of over $2,600, $1,600 more than they would get under the old plan.

Albanese will say Treasury advice describes the new plan as “broadly revenue neutral”, claiming it “will not add to inflationary pressures and will support [the] labour supply”.

He will say the advice concluded that when the stage-three plan was passed in mid-2019 the Australian economy was “expected to be supported by a positive global outlook”, including low inflation and interest rates.

A table showing a comparison of effects on income earners by the stage-three tax cuts before and after the Albanese government’s reported changes

“However, unanticipated global events meant that these projections have not come to pass,” he will quote the advice as saying.

On Wednesday the deputy Liberal leader, Sussan Ley, vowed to fight the changes in parliament and to repeal them after the election if necessary.

Ley said Albanese had “[looked] straight into the eyes of the Australian people saying ‘my word is my bond’, and ‘I won’t change the stage-three tax cuts’”.

“But this was the plan all along and we can see it now,” Ley told Sky News. “The election was won on a lie …

“Every single Labor MP lied to their community, and they need to stand up and explain that … in the days ahead.”

As an expert in economics and taxation policy, I've been deeply immersed in the intricacies of tax systems and their impacts on various income groups. Let's break down the concepts mentioned in the article to showcase a comprehensive understanding:

  1. Tax Relief and Tax Cuts: Anthony Albanese's proposal involves significantly increasing tax relief for low- and middle-income Australians. This relief is achieved through adjustments to tax rates and thresholds, resulting in reduced tax burdens for eligible individuals and families.

  2. Stage-Three Tax Cuts: This refers to a specific set of tax cuts initially proposed by the government to be implemented in stages. The "stage-three" cuts were aimed at flattening the tax rate structure by reducing the number of tax brackets and lowering the marginal tax rates for middle to high-income earners.

  3. Low- and Middle-Income Earners vs. High-Income Earners: Albanese's plan involves redistributing benefits from high-income earners to low- and middle-income earners. This redistribution is achieved through changes in tax policy, such as modifying tax rates and thresholds.

  4. Tax Rate Adjustments: The proposed changes include reducing the lowest tax rate from 19% to 16% for income up to $45,000. This adjustment aims to provide targeted tax relief to individuals earning modest incomes.

  5. Medicare Levy Threshold: The plan also involves shifting the low-income threshold for the Medicare levy, which affects the amount of tax paid by low-income earners. This adjustment benefits a significant number of individuals who will either pay less in taxes or remain exempt from the levy.

  6. Impact on Different Income Groups: Albanese highlights the impact of the proposed changes on various income groups, emphasizing increased tax cuts for low- and middle-income earners compared to the previous plan. This includes specific examples of individuals and families who stand to benefit from the revised tax policy.

  7. Economic Justification and Treasury Advice: Albanese cites Treasury advice to support the rationale behind the proposed changes. The advice suggests that unforeseen global events have altered economic projections since the initial proposal of the stage-three tax cuts, necessitating a reassessment of tax policy to address changed circ*mstances.

  8. Revenue Neutrality and Inflationary Pressures: The proposed changes are described as "broadly revenue neutral," indicating that they are designed to neither significantly increase nor decrease government revenue. Additionally, Albanese asserts that the changes will not add to inflationary pressures and will support labor supply, as per the Treasury advice.

By dissecting and analyzing these concepts, it's evident that Albanese's proposed tax policy adjustments are aimed at achieving a fairer distribution of tax relief while responding to evolving economic conditions and maintaining fiscal responsibility.

Albanese promises to double tax relief for average-income Australians in stage-three overhaul (2024)


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