Sunday, May 20, 2018

Number of Australians who earned more than $1m a year yet paid no tax surges 30%

This story no doubt refers to gross income.  There are many reasons why net income could be lower.  A failing business might for instance have a very large gross income but practically no net income

Sixty-two Australians who earned more than $1m in the 2015-16 financial year paid no income tax. That represents a 30% increase from the previous financial year.

New data from the Australian Tax Office, released on Friday afternoon, shows that despite a political focus on wage stagnation and income inequality in recent years, the ranks of Australia’s millionaires paying no income tax is growing swiftly.

The data shows Australia has 12,706 taxpayers earning more than $1m, the vast majority of whom have paid some sort of tax on their taxable income.

But in the 2015-16 financial year, 59 millionaires claimed to have taxable income below $6,001, one claimed to have taxable income between $6,001 and $10,000, and two claimed to have taxable income between $10,001 and $18,200, putting them all below the tax-free threshold.

None of them paid the Medicare levy.

Twenty-two reduced their taxable income to zero by claiming a combined $4.34m for the “cost of managing tax affairs” – nearly $198,000 each.

Fourteen claimed gifts or donations worth $54.9m to help them do so.

A tax office spokesman said there were legitimate reasons why a wealthy taxpayer may not pay tax in a particular year, including prior year tax losses (which are able to be carried forward indefinitely), large costs associated with the production of assessable income (such as the start-up phase of a business), and the cost of managing tax affairs.

The “cost of managing tax affairs” includes the cost of getting advice from a registered tax agent, barrister or solicitor, the cost of preparing and lodging tax returns and activity statements, and the cost of court appeals.

“Notwithstanding this, a wealthy taxpayer who does not pay tax is more likely to attract the ATO’s attention and be subject to further scrutiny to assure they are complying with their tax obligations,” the spokesman said.


The PC sickness in Australia

“I’M GOING to miss this,” said the comedian. And for a moment nothing was very funny anymore.

We had been chatting about our respective mongrel ancestries when we realised we were both part Scots-Irish.

“I never understood exactly what Scots-Irish was,” I said. “As far as I can tell some Scots went to Ireland because they didn’t like the Scottish and then when they got there they decided they didn’t like the Irish — or the English for that matter.”

“Yep,” he said. “They basically just rocked up and said to everyone: ‘If you don’t like it then f*** off!’”

“They’re so disagreeable!” I said. And that’s when my friend paused.

“I’m going to miss this,” he said.

For a moment I was scared he was about to tell me he had some terminal disease but then the penny dropped — and like a true Scotsman I noticed it.

“Soon we won’t be able to talk about this anymore,” he said. “We won’t be able to laugh or take the piss out of people for their differences. Everybody will just be exactly the same.”

It was an extremely depressing thought and for a moment I wished he really had told me he had a terminal disease.

Comedians are of course notoriously melancholy creatures but there have been several recent developments that make me more sure than ever that my mate is on the money.

One was a report this month that the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions had ordered his Newcastle office to complete a sexual harassment course after a lawyer “tweaked” a colleague’s nipple.

Sounds fair enough, you might think, until you read on. You see, it wasn’t a lecherous old man groping a young vulnerable clerk. It was a female solicitor mucking around with a male colleague when she gave him a little nipple-cripple over his shirt. Call the prosecutors!

And it gets better. It wasn’t even the bloke who had his nipple tweaked who made the complaint. He wasn’t fussed at all. Instead it was someone in the office who witnessed it and reported it as “inappropriate”.

As a source rather plaintively told The Daily Telegraph: “It was just a joke.”

But as my comedian mate now knows, there are no jokes anymore. There’s just appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.

And so, as a result of a playful exchange between two friendly colleagues who were completely untroubled, dozens of legal experts have to sit through an interminable sexual harassment lecture delivered perhaps by some po-faced bureaucrat or perhaps by a disembodied online portal. It’s hard to know which would be a bigger waste of the taxpayer’s time or money.

Moreover, the female solicitor is said to be “highly embarrassed” by the whole affair. So well done to the #metoo mole who called it in. You’ve just humiliated a woman for having too much fun at work. What a victory for progress that is.

It would be tempting to write this off as just a rogue PC absurdity — even if it did come from the highest prosecutor in the nation’s biggest state. If only this were so.

Recently I learned of colleagues at another government organisation who were forced to undergo cultural awareness training after an eerily similar incident.

In this case, two people, one white and one black, were talking about how absurd it was that a certain derogatory racial term was still allowed to be used in some contexts. Another person in the office overheard the conversation and reported them.

And so it was back to the re-education camps for that happy little workplace. Yes, even a black person discussing a racist word can now be sanctioned for racism.

Again, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is as dumb as society could possibly get but, again, you’d be wrong.

Because just last week an educator infamously suggested that parents should ask their babies for consent babies before changing a nappy [diaper]. Needless to say, in any such exchange it would not just be the nappy that was completely full of it.

I had words about this on Studio 10 and apparently it became a “Twitter Moment”, so I don’t want to add further to the mob frenzy. All I would offer is that anyone who compares changing a nappy to rape needs to seriously consider their world view.


NAPLAN much more gain than pain

More than a million Australian students sat NAPLAN tests this week, assessing their standards in reading, writing, language and numeracy.

Despite some hysterical criticisms, the national assessment program remains a vital educational tool and there is no rigorous evidence it has widespread negative effects on students. And in general, parents groups continue to support the tests.

Claims that it harms students are at best superficial, and at worst downright misleading. There have been very few studies to date on the impact on students, and the existing research is mostly based on surveys or samples so small as to be insignificant.

There is a world of difference between serious mental health issues and the low levels of nervousness associated with any school assessment.

The other target of NAPLAN naysayers is the MySchool website, where school results are published and can be compared to other schools and the national average. It is argued MySchool harms schools by making them focus excessively on NAPLAN test results. But again, there is little evidence to support this claim, and ultimately schools focusing more on literacy and numeracy is almost always a good thing.

MySchool is important for parents. Parents choose schools based on multiple factors, including academic achievement. Having access to NAPLAN results allows parents a more informed choice for their children’s education success.

And when we’re constantly told parents should be more engaged in their children’s education, it would be bizarre to tell parents they shouldn’t know how their local school is performing compared to national standards.

NAPLAN helps improve schools and teaching, by identifying problems in the school system over time and enabling potential solutions — from the national level all the way down to individual students. It also provides transparency for school results. And it holds governments and schools accountable for the more than $50 billion of taxpayer money invested in the school system every year.

So what is the future for NAPLAN?

It is reasonable to investigate how NAPLAN data can be used more effectively to help students. A possible review of NAPLAN — which education ministers are currently considering — should focus on such issues, rather than simplistically scrapping the whole program.


High hopes for economic boost from Australian Space Agency

AUSTRALIA is placing a big bet on space technologies with the creation of our own space agency — and the pay-off could be huge.

TECHNOLOGISTS, university researchers and start-up companies are expected to benefit from the establishment of an Australian space agency that could provide a boon for things like precision agriculture and autonomous mining vehicles.

The government officially launched the Australian Space Agency on Monday, setting up the agency to capitalise on the $420 billion aeronautical industry and create thousands of hi-tech jobs, with a review forecasting that the industry will be worth $12 billion by 2030.

Dr Rosalind Dubs is the former Chair of the Australian Space Industry Innovation Council and current Board Director of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE).

She said the cash, and more importantly the government commitment, will foster investment and allow burgeoning Aussie tech companies to tap into the growing global space industry.

“In terms of industry there are a lot of small players already in Australia but they don’t have a champion at the big table ... a space agency will be sitting with its peers with NASA, with the European Space Agency, with the UK Space Office to prosecute their case,” Dr Dubs told

She hopes it will stop a brain drain of top engineering talent leaving Australia to work in space-related industries in the US, Canada and the UK.

“On the research side, there are a number of universities looking to create critical mass around their own space technology capability,” she said.

ASX-listed Electro Optic Systems (EOS) is a Canberra-based defence and space company that, among other things, works with international partners on solutions to the issue of space junk.

“They look at what’s called the space environment and use laser technology to monitor space debris ... and are working on methods to actually push dangerous space junk out of the way of valuable satellites that create vital services for the world,” Dr Dubs said.

While EOS is “already successful in their own right,” she believes the new agency will provide a focal point for research and innovation, allowing other small companies to emulate that success and get a piece of the pie.

She is hopeful the policy certainty anchored by the space agency will encourage large overseas aeronautical and space players such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman and others to “start investing here, in local technologies”.

“It will enable partnerships and allow smaller companies to grow,” Dr Dubs said.

The global space industry is growing at about 10 per cent a year worldwide, an expert review panel estimated Australia accounted for only 0.8 per cent of the industry.

Dr Dubs thinks Australia can reach 2 per cent within the decade.

The review into the coming space agency recommended Australia build on its strengths in communications technology, debris monitoring and space services including situational awareness, ground stations, and other areas where the domestic industry could “leapfrog” other countries.

In addition to the $41 million allocated to kickstart the establishment of the space agency, Dr Dubs praised the government’s $260 million investment in global positioning system (GPS) technology and satellite imagery as part of its 2018-19 federal Budget.

“Satellite data are vital for everything from the monitoring of the environment, to understanding the weather, border security and emergency response, precision farming and time-stamping of financial transactions,” Dr Dubs said

“Every $1 million spent on satellites can drive up to $5 million in economic benefits back on Earth.”

Minister for jobs and innovation, Senator Michaelia Cash, said Australia’s move to join the global space industry had the potential to be worth as much as $12 billion by 2030.

“We have an extraordinary opportunity to increase our share of the growing global space economy,” she said.

“Space technologies are not just about taking people to the moon; they open up opportunities for many industries, including communications, agriculture, mining, oil and gas.

“An Australian space agency will support the long-term development of space technologies, grow our domestic space industry and secure our place in the global space economy.

“Through our $300 million investment in space industry and technology, the Turnbull government is allowing businesses across the economy to prosper, enter new markets and create jobs.”


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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