Tax is not a four-letter word

Tax is not a four-letter word

UnitingCare Australia’s National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said she is optimistic today’s Tax Forum in Canberra will be the beginning of the urgent reforms Australians have been waiting for.

Speaking ahead of the Forum, where she will be a delegate, Ms Hatfield Dodds said inequities and disincentives in the tax system impact most on low income Australians locking many into a cycle of intergenerational poverty.

“Adequacy, equity and simplicity must be the guiding principles of reform. We need to raise sufficient revenue to pay for the things that matter,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.

“Tax is not a four letter word.  It is the price of a good society.”

“UnitingCare Australia’s priorities for the Forum focus on addressing the inequities that exist in our transfer payments and ensuring Australia’s network of social services can continue to provide services to the people who need them.

“The benefits of superannuation tax concessions, for example, benefit people on higher incomes, encouraging them to save for their retirements. The wealthiest Australians, the top five per cent of income earners, are the beneficiaries of almost $10 billion worth of those concessions.

“But people on very low incomes receive no incentives to help them to save for their retirement.

“We will continue to campaign for solid reform of the complex and outdated tax arrangements in place for the not-for-profit social services that support vulnerable Australians.

“The current Fringe Benefits Tax arrangements are a case in point. Originally established in 2001 to help the cash strapped not for profit sector attract and retain staff, the FBT concession cap has not been indexed since its introduction and the value of the benefit has been eroded over time.

“As one of the lowest taxing countries in the OECD, we are able to ensure all Australians benefit from this country’s significant wealth.

“Raising tax revenue doesn’t have to mean raising tax thresholds.”

Ms Hatfield Dodds said, “Closing existing tax loopholes that favour high income earners so that everyone pays their fair share would go a long way to addressing some of the pressing public policy priorities facing the country.”

The UnitingCare network provides social services to over 2 million people each year in 1,300 sites in remote, rural and metropolitan Australia. UnitingCare has 35,000 staff and 24,000 volunteers.

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