Labor unveils super tax tweaks on big balances

The number of Australians with super balances in the hundreds of millions has been expanding quickly as the federal government prepares to tighten tax breaks for wealthy retirees.

The Labor government committed to halving tax breaks for those with super balances of $3 million or more earlier in the year in a bid to claw back some revenue and make the system fairer.

Draft legislation for the tax concession changes was unveiled on Tuesday.

Only 0.5 per cent of people will be captured by the changes, with most Australians having less than $200,000 in super.

Massive super balances have risen sharply, however, with the number of people with more than $100 million growing from 17 to 28 in just 12 months during the pandemic.

Based on the new analysis of Australian Taxation Office data, those with balances above $50 million lifted from 78 to 107 in the same period between 2019/20 and 2020/21.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said everyone would still receive super tax breaks under the changes but concessions would be less generous for balances of more than $3 million.

“Australians are making hard choices around the kitchen table, and it’s important that the government does the same thing around the cabinet table,” he said.

The tax concession changes are due to come into force in 2025, after the next election.

The opposition has accused the federal government of breaking an election promise by tinkering with super tax settings and is expected to fight the changes.

Without the coalition’s support, the government will need the Greens and key crossbenchers on board.

The Greens want super payments on paid parental leave in exchange for their support.

Greens spokesperson for women, Larissa Waters, said the proposed changes to concessions were more than enough to cover the cost of super for women on paid parental leave.

“Labor is making women wait for minor measures like paying super on paid parental leave that would immediately improve economic equality, but can somehow find $313 billion for the stage three tax cuts,” Senator Waters said.

Dr Chalmers said the government still planned to provide the superannuation guarantee on paid parental leave “when we can afford to do it”.

“The Greens can call for all kinds of things, they don’t have to run the place and they don’t have to run the budget,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

He said the government had already extended paid parental leave at some cost to the budget.


Poppy Johnston
(Australian Associated Press)


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