16 February 2013

Tax thresholds - so tasty you can't stop at one

How exciting can a tax threshold get!  Over the last few weeks I've come across a few "discussions" on the subject, largely driven by speculation about what will happen to the tax scales if the Coalition wins September's federal election. 

Last year the Government increased the tax threshold from $6,000 to $18,200 as part of a package of measures associated with putting a price on carbon pollution.  The Coalition is intent on abolishing the "carbon tax" and, apparently, the household compensation measures that went with it, including the tax changes.  This obviously provides much scope for polite discourse on how people would be affected by winding back the changes.  I've even read some entertaining stuff questioning whether the Government's changes really did much at all, or in fact made people worse off.

None of this is made easier by the fact that tax-threshold apparently means different things to different people and is also rather dependent on the context in which it's used.  So, let's have a look at tax thresholds and how they've changed over the last 4 Parliaments.  A chart first, and if that makes no sense to you an explanation follows.