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The paper, based on a forthcoming TTPI report, identifies best practice approaches to taxing savings, as identified by economists and public policy experts. It then compares these to the existing design of the Australian tax system. The comparison reveals that the existing system in Australia is both inefficient and regressive. In particular, while superannuation is taxed at a negative rate (on average), the effective tax rates on savings accounts and investment properties are typically greater than 50%. This difference in tax treatment incentivises tax minimisation, instead of investment in assets with the best pre-tax return. As such, opportunities exist to reform the tax treatment of savings that can simultaneously improve the fairness, efficiency and simplicity of the Australian tax system. These reforms should be considered as a priority for Australian governments at the state and federal levels.
Dr. Peter Varela is an Economist at the Centre for International Economics and a Research Fellow of the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute.
A light lunch will be available from 12 - 12.15pm. Please register at the registration tab above.