October 2022 Update

Wooden blocks with the black letters spelling TAX and two arrows pointing up and down at the end

To Cut or Not to Cut?

Stage three personal tax cuts

In September, amid a climate of startling interest rates, UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced a series of tax cuts, including the reduction of the top personal income tax rate that applies to those earning more than £150,000 from 45% to 40%. Just ten days later, following market turmoil that saw the British Pound drop at one point to a low of $1.035 USD, its lowest level since 1985, the decision was reversed calling the cuts “a massive distraction.” Heading into the 2022-23 Federal Budget on 25 October, the question for the Australian Government is different. It is not whether to introduce personal income tax cuts but whether to keep, amend or repeal the cuts legislated to commence on 1 July 2024.

In Australia, the 2018-19 Budget introduced the Personal Income Tax Plan. The plan implemented three stages of income tax cuts over seven years that will, by 2024-25, simplify the tax brackets and enable taxpayers to earn up to $200,000 before paying a new top marginal tax rate of 45%. Stages of the plan, bringing relief for low and middle income earners, were brought forward in the 2019-20 Budget and again in 2020-21.
Labor’s pre-election Lower Taxes policy states, “An Albanese Labor Government will deliver tax relief for more than 9 million Australians through the legislated tax cuts that benefit everyone with incomes above $45,000.” But this month, the Treasurer has subtly changed the narrative from simply “our policy has not changed on stage three tax cuts” to “We do need to ensure that spending in the Budget, particularly in these uncertain global times, is geared toward what’s affordable and sustainable and responsible and sufficiently targeted. I think that’s one of the lessons from the UK.”

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