We’ve taken a look at how the outcome of the federal election could affect your wallet.
First home buyers
Let’s start with housing. A week before the election, the Coalition announced a new First Home Loan Deposit Scheme which it said is designed to help first home buyers break into the property market. The $500 million scheme would help some first home buyers purchase a house with a deposit of as little as 5% of their property’s value. The government said it would guarantee an extra 15%, meaning eligible buyers would not be required to pay lenders’ mortgage insurance (which they would usually pay if their deposit was under 20%).
The scheme will be available to individuals earning up to $125,000 a year or couples with a combined income of up to $200,000, the Coalition said. Additionally, it will be limited to 10,000 first home buyers – which is a relatively small fraction of that market, considering government figures indicate there were 110,000 first home buyers in 2018.
For property investors, the Coalition government has said there will be no negative gearing changes and no changes to the capital gains tax discount. Labor had proposed to limit negative gearing to new investment properties from next year, and to halve the capital gains tax discount from 50% to 25%.
Possible tax implications
One of the cornerstones of the Coalition’s election campaign was a promise to roll out tax cuts for low- and middle-income earners. In April’s Federal Budget, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced a $158 billion plan to cut personal income taxes for all workers earning up to $126,000 per year. Individuals earning between $48,000 and $90,000 would get the full $1,080 offset at tax time, while dual-income households would receive up to $2,160. According to the Treasurer, 10 million taxpayers are set to benefit from the scheme, with 4.5 million of them getting the full amount.
The Coalition originally promised to get the tax cuts through parliament in time for this year’s tax return, however, this plan now appears to be delayed. Speaking to Sky News on Monday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was “unlikely” the tax cuts would pass through parliament before June 30. This is because parliament cannot be opened until the election writs are returned, which may not be until late June. Australians may now need to wait until next financial year to benefit from the tax relief plan.
In a boost for high-income earners, the Coalition has also committed to flattening income tax brackets by mid-2024. From 1 July 2022, the Coalition has said it will increase the top threshold for the 32.5% tax bracket from $90,000 to $120,000. From 1 July 2024, if it’s still in government, this threshold would then be further increased from $120,000 to $200,000. Under this plan, announced in the Treasurer’s 2019 budget speech, all workers earning between $45,000 and $200,000 would pay the same 30% marginal tax rate.
Throughout the election campaign, the Coalition was strongly opposed to Labor’s franking credits policy, labelling it a ‘retiree tax’. The policy – which Labor said would not affect 92% of taxpayers – will not proceed under the Coalition.
The Coalition has said it will implement a handful of policies aimed at making it easier for older Australians to boost their retirement balances. It’s proposed to implement these changes from 1 July 2020.
Firstly, the Coalition has said it will allow those aged 65 and 66 to make voluntary super contributions (both concessional and non-concessional) without having to meet the ‘work test’. Currently, as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) explains, people aged between 65 and 75 must work at least 40 hours over a 30-day period in order to make voluntary contributions.
The Government has also promised to extend the ‘bring-forward rule’ to those aged 65 and 66. Under this rule, you are permitted to make three years’ worth of non-concessional (after-tax) contributions totalling up to $300,000 in a single year. This rule is currently only available to those under 65, the ATO says.
Finally, the Coalition has said it will increase the age you can make spousal contributions from 69 to 74 years. The ATO advises that under the current law, those aged 70 and over cannot receive contributions made by another person on their behalf.
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