Increased tax on Super contributions

Increased tax on Super contributions

Increased tax on Super contributions

During its last term in office, the Federal Labor party introduced a superannuation charge for people earning more than $300,000 annually, taxing these people’s contributions at 30 per cent, while everyone else pays 15 per cent on contributions.

In April 2015 the Federal Opposition (Labor’s Bill Shorten) proposed to lower the threshold to double the superannuation tax on contributions to 30% for many Australians to raise more than $5 billion over a decade.

Increased Super Guarantee Charge

Increased Super Guarantee Charge

Increased Super Guarantee Charge

In 1986, 3 per cent superannuation was awarded by the then Conciliation and Arbitration Commission as part of a productivity and wage package. Over time that increased progressively. For a long time it was stuck at 9%. It is currently 9.5% in 2015–16, and incremental increases are legislated each subsequent year to get to 12% in 2019–20.

In the 1995-96 Budget, the then Treasurer outlined the Keating Government’s proposal to further increase superannuation contributions to 15 per cent.

In this “immediate gratification” society, it doesn’t take much imagination to see that governments don’t trust individuals to behave in a way that gives them sufficient savings for their own needs later in life. This obviously has consequences for the public purse, necessitating subsidisation by the state (at taxpayers’ expense). For governments, mandatory savings schemes like Super are also a mechanism to shift reliance on future tax-payer funded pensions to private savings.

Death duty or inheritance tax reintroduced

Death duty or inheritance tax reintroduced

Death duty or inheritance tax reintroduced

On 15 October 2009 the most senior tax-policy advisor to the Australian Federal Government, Dr Ken Henry (Chair – Australia’s Future Tax System Review Panel and Secretary to the Treasury) gave an Address to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

In that address he identified 6 areas of future opportunities and challenges governments will need to address in respect to taxation. At the very top of his list was: “the ageing of the population, posing challenges for the financing of retirement incomes and of increasing health and aged care needs”.

Dr Henry said that taxes levied on broader bases would be more efficient policy tools, probably more equitable and certainly more transparent ways of raising revenue. Without such tools, governments would otherwise be compelled to continue to rely on bad taxes to achieve their spending objectives.

Capping or removal of family home from eligibility test for social security benefits

Capping or removal of family home from eligibility test for social security benefits

Capping or removal of family home from eligibility test for social security benefits

The age pension was introduced by Labor prime minister Andrew Fisher in 1908 as a safety net for Australians in the last years of their life. When it was first established, the age for eligibility was set at 65 – when the average life expectancy for Australian men was 63. It was not expected that most people would live long enough to receive it, and those they did would not get it for very long.

With advancements in health care and medical science, our life expectancies have risen dramatically, and the cost of the age-pension has ballooned into the single largest federal program.

It cost $36 billion in 2013, almost 10 per cent of the entire Federal budget, a bill that has risen by $13 billion over the past decade as Australians became healthier and lived longer. Annual administration costs are estimated at $1 billion a year.

Mediating Settlement of Estate Disputes

Mediating Settlement of Estate Disputes

Mediating Settlement of Estate Disputes sa

Like most developed countries, Australia’s population is ageing as a result of sustained low fertility and increasing life expectancy. This has resulted in proportionally fewer children in the population and a proportionally larger increase in those aged 65 and over.

Over the 20 years between 1994 and 2014, the proportion of the population aged 65 years and over increased from 11.8% to 14.7%. This group is projected to increase more rapidly over the next decade, as further cohorts of baby boomers turn 65.

In the 12 months to 30 June 2014, the number of people aged 65 years and over increased by 118,700 people, representing a 3.6% increase.

We are living longer and accumulating greater wealth.  This gives rise to the potential for more disputes arising on either incapacity or death.

Genders and Partners

Capital Gains Tax Reform in 2016

Capital Gains Tax Reform in 2016

Over the next 10 years, Australia will face significant challenges as it attempts to balance its books while enormous numbers of Baby-Boomers exit the scene.  The State & Federal Governments (of all political persuasions) will need to make some difficult choices to address these challenges, and attempt to cling onto our desirable quality of life.

Nearly $24 billion has been lost to the Federal Government in just five years by a capital-gains tax discount which many economists claim rewards the rich and freezes out first homebuyers.

Verification of ID

Verification of ID

Verification of ID

State Governments and authorities around Australia have introduced mandatory Verification of Identity (VOI) policies. These policies help to protect all the parties in a variety of legal and business transactions against fraud.

Mandatory VOI policies are now in place in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. Similar policies are set to be introduced in New South Wales in 2016, with the remaining states and territories likely to follow shortly.
This overlaps with anti-money-laundering legislation, and various banking & finance protocols and policies.

Top 5 Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Will Kits

Top 5 Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Will Kits in SA

Top 5 Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Will Kits in SA

Creating a Will gives us the peace of mind that comes from knowing that our estate will be distributed according to our wishes. But the desire to avoid the expenses normally associated with Will preparation is tempting some people these days to consider using Do-It-Yourself Will Kits.

At first look, DIY Will kits might seem to be cheaper and save some time and travel involved in having a legal professional prepare a Will, BUT the savings in time and money could be illusory if there are even minor mistakes or unforeseen events that cause the Will to be invalid.

Remember: any mistakes you make will only become apparent after you’re dead, and it’s too late to fix them.

Determining the wishes of the deceased is a legal issue by its very nature, and consequently, if the Will is not properly prepared and executed, it could be invalidated or challenged, sometimes complicating things even worse than if there had been no Will at all.