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Thursday, 7 June 1984
Page: 2794

(Question No. 866)

Senator Maguire asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 2 May 1984:

(1) Does the report, 'Taxation Statistics 1981-82', supplement to the 61st report to Parliament of the Commissioner of Taxation, contain calculations on page 35 which indicate that taxpayers who claimed the dependent spouse, daughter -housekeeper and housekeeper rebates had a mean taxable income of $17,863 compared with a mean taxable income of all individuals of $14,119.

(2) Did taxpayers claiming these rebates have a higher mean taxable income than all other groups for which calculations were made.

(3) Do the above calculations suggest the rebates are going disproportionately to taxpayers with higher taxable incomes; if not, what explanations can be advanced for the higher mean taxable incomes of taxpayers claiming the rebates compared with other taxpayers.

Senator Walsh —The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Yes.

(2) Yes.

(3) Schedule 1.5 to 'Taxation Statistics 1981-82' shows that of the 1,202,563 claims allowed for spouse, daughter-housekeeper and housekeeper rebate, more than 68 per cent were for taxpayers with incomes below the $20,000 level. The distribution also shows that the highest number of these rebates were allowed to taxpayers in the $15,000-$15,999 range of taxable income.

Most of the other taxpayers covered by Schedule 1.5 are tabulated under two main heads. These are 'Married not elsewhere included' and 'Single not elsewhere included'. The composition of these two groups explains to some extent the reason for the mean taxable income in each case being less than that for taxpayers with the spouse rebate.

Taxpayers in the 'Married n.e.i.' group are excluded from the spouse rebate because of the level of the separate net income of their spouses. The group generally includes two income families, including those where incomes have been split between spouses such as in a husband and wife partnership. This tends to reduce the mean taxable income for the group as a whole. With regard to two income families, Schedules 1.25 and 1.26 of Taxation Statistics 1981-82 give details of matched 1980-81 income year husband and wife returns. A total of 1, 133,700 couples' returns were matched and for these couples the combined mean taxable income was $24,622-Schedule 1.25. The income of such couples in 1981-82 income year would be higher and compares with the mean income of single income families, that is, those with a spouse rebate, of $17,863.

The 'Single n.e.i.' classification includes a high proportion of taxpayers in their first or early years of employment and generally in receipt of incomes at the lower end of the scale. There are 2.2 million taxpayers in this group, 75 per cent of whom have incomes less than $15,000. The weight of taxpayers in the lower ranges of taxable income is reflected in the lower mean taxable income for this group.