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Using administrative Australian tax, superannuation and COVID-19 program datasets, we examine the extent to which individuals a) withdrew from their private pension (‘superannuation’) accounts as part of the COVID-19 early release of superannuation program, and b) contributed voluntarily to superannuation in the same fiscal year. Such ‘simultaneous’ withdrawal from, and contribution to, superannuation provided a potential opportunity for taxpayers to achieve an income tax saving. We present preliminary estimates of the extent of behaviour, the extent of tax savings attained, and the extent to which those savings were achieved passively – in a manner consistent with pre-covid behaviour – vis a vis actively via new, additional contributions.
Tristram Sainsbury is studying a PhD in economics at the Australian National University. His research focus is on evaluating major Australian COVID-19 fiscal support measures targeted at individuals. The study is supported by a Sir Roland Wilson PhD Scholarship.