The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) is urging participants of this weeks’ National Tax Forum to avoid divisive and fruitless arguments over whether we should tax consumption or income, and to focus instead on practical solutions to the challenges of population ageing, housing affordability, poverty, and workforce participation.

…”We need to tackle the biases in the tax system that favour speculative investment in housing and other assets which inflate home prices and adding to the squeeze on household budgets. The low rate of tax on capital gains and the ability of taxpayers to deduct their investment losses against their wages were rightly targeted by the Henry Report and it’s time to act on this front.

“The community wants a fairer personal income tax system based on ability to pay rather than sharp avoidance practices. ACOSS is pleased the Treasurer has signalled the need to close business loopholes and we will insist the Government adopt the Henry proposals for removing shelters like breaks on ‘golden handshakes’ and the use of private trusts, companies and super funds to shelter personal income. We estimate that commonly used personal tax shelters cost at least $20 billion foregone every year – crucial revenue that could be used to lower overall tax rates and improve services.

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This is obviously an issue being faced in many countries of the world. What would Vincent, Louise and Frederic say?

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