It is that time of the year again when Treasury releases its “Tax Expenditures Statement”. You know, the statement that essentially complaints that taxes are not high enough and if only Treasury had its way, another $100 billion plus dollars could be collected.
Here it is. Pure public service gold – 2016 TAX EXPENDITURES STATEMENT.
As has been written on these and other pages many times, the underlying mindset behind this “analysis” is to say that any tax rate below the benchmark is “revenue foregone”.
Rather than a tax expenditures statement, can we have a tax supplements statement which calculates the additional revenue collected over the benchmark. For example, rather than claiming the 15% superannuation tax rate is a discount, let us call it the benchmark and any income collected from rates above this is a supplement.
This is about Treasury’s thinking that all wealth and income belongs to the government and anything the citizens are allowed to keep is “revenue foregone”.
How do you like these people? Any how about the greater fools who invest in this analysis? Which is why I come to Peter Martin, economics editor for The Age who wrote today about this subject – Treasury says tax expenditures cost $150 billion. Martin writes:
If abolished, they would close the budget deficit four times over.
I wonder what the budget impact would be from the abolition of the Tax Expenditures Statement?