Report calls for home to be included in pension means tests

ANU report calls for a major tax overhaul to address intergenerational inequality.

Rear view at middle aged loving couple preparing breakfast together in the kitchen standing at big window

The concept of including the family home in the means tests for the Age Pension has raised its head again, with a report from the Australian National University (ANU) on Monday calling for the measure to be introduced among a raft of tax changes aimed at making the tax system in Australia more equitable.

The report, titled The taxation of savings in Australia, also urges the scrapping of dividend imputation credits, replacing them with a flat tax rate on dividends.

The idea of including the family home in the assets test for the Age Pension is not new, but it is extremely unpopular.

YourLifeChoices polled members on the topic last year and an overwhelming 85 per cent of the 2481 respondents said the family home should not be part of the assets test.

Most responses were highly critical of the concept of including the family home in the assets test for an Age Pension – and many were critical of the assets test generally.

Professor Robert Breunig, chair of the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute (TTPI) at ANU and co-author of the report, said the Australia needed to address growing inequity across the generations.

“We are calling for the replacement of dividend imputation with a flat tax rate on dividends, removing stamp duties, which significantly distort decisions about when to move house, and including owner-occupied housing in means tests for pensions,” Prof. Breunig said.

“This might seem radical, but in reality the reforms are reasonable and would bring us closer to the optimal tax system Australians deserve and this nation needs.”

The report calls for a new system that taxes savings at a low, flat rate and which is separate to taxes on labour income.

“As review after review has shown, Australia’s current approach to taxing savings is a mess at best and a serious driver of intergenerational inequality at worst,” Prof. Breunig said.

“Some savings tax arrangements are progressive, taxing higher incomes more heavily, and some are regressive. Some favour the old but are punitive for the young.

“Our current tax arrangements are inefficient, inequitable and distort the flow of savings across our society and economy. The system is complex and encourages Australians to engage in costly tax planning schemes.

“Our new report not only outlines the ideal tax system – a dual income tax system – but steps out how we can get there. The beauty of a dual income tax system is that we can move there in stages.”

According to the authors, the taxation of savings should be based on four key principles:

  1. savings should be taxed at a lower rate than labour income
  2. most types of savings should be taxed at the same rate
  3. savings income should be taxed independent of the tax rate on income from other sources
  4. taxation of savings should focus on income generated from savings and not the total stock of assets.

The report also outlines four key reforms that can be made to Australia’s tax system in the short term, including removing stamp duties and including the family home in the means tests for the Age Pension.

“The taxation of savings is politically contentious with strong lobby groups defending particular savings arrangements, whether that is the untouchable nature of owner-occupied housing, dividend imputation or superannuation concessions,” Prof. Breunig said.

“Yet, it makes no sense to consider the tax implications of these individual savings options without also taking into account how they shape the competitive landscape, how they influence the choices of individuals and how they contribute to the efficient mobilisation of savings across the economy as a whole.”

Do you think the family home should be included in the means tests for the Age Pension? Are you frustrated that this is constantly raised as a solution to tax problems?

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    COMMENTS

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    PJ
    21st Jul 2020
    10:11am
    Stop flogging a dead horse!! - I've just turned 66 and retired on a part pension!! Don't move the goal posts - Go after Corporations who avoid their tax obligations!!!
    Captain
    21st Jul 2020
    11:09am
    PJ, the current LNP Government moved the goalposts for retirees in the 2014 budget, to the tune of 93,000 part pensioners lost their pension entitlement and 372,000 other part pensioners lost up to 25% of their entitlement.

    Did you raise a fuss then or are you one of those who don't look into the future and realize that those 2014 budget changes would affect everyone who retired from the first of January 2017, (when the 2014 changes came into effect), forevermore.

    I was one of many who lobbied the Government not to go ahead with the changes. I also discussed the changes with our local Federal Member, who defended the changes. In discussions with him earlier this year, he conceded that the changes were not necessary!

    Get used to politicans doing what is good for them not what is good for Australia or Australians.
    PJ
    21st Jul 2020
    12:22pm
    Of course I plan and look into the future Captain. Of course I realised the implications of the 2014 budget changes. My simple point is to continually drag up the inclusion of the Family Home in the Assets test is pointless - It has explicitly been ruled out by the LNP and would be political suicide!!!
    GD
    21st Jul 2020
    1:43pm
    I agree to include the home is political suicide. It is mentioned that to buy the family home, it was bought out of wages that were taxed, savings that were taxed, stamp duty was assigned another form of tax but the one thing never mentioned is the loans used and the interest rates on the loans which is a form of tax. No it should not be included as it has been bought and paid for many times over and to deny pension aged Australian's their full entitlement of pension because they now own a $100,000 house valued today at $1,000,000 is not fair and it's not Australian.
    rowette
    21st Jul 2020
    10:35am
    Itotally agree PJ. They should get the huge businesses to pay their fair share and not have all of the exemptions and tax deductions.
    libsareliars
    22nd Jul 2020
    1:03pm
    I totally agree with PJ and rowette, leave the family home alone!
    Flash
    21st Jul 2020
    10:55am
    Most pensioners purchased their homes from wages/salary which were taxed now to suggest including their primary residence in the means test is just another tax on money already taxed. Others who inherited their homes would have probably paid probate on that inheritance , another form of tax.
    The companies avoiding taxes are the bane of tax system and until this is resolved there will be inequities in who carries the tax burden.
    Alan
    21st Jul 2020
    1:46pm
    I paid $17,500 for my first home; about $150,000 for my current home. I have spent about $150000 on extensions/renovations. Tax was paid on the salary that enabled me to buy these houses. The first house was sold for about $400,000 so there was a large capital gain which went into superannuation. The value of the current house is somewhere around $1,000,000 again there has been a large capital gain. I am sure that there are many like me.

    When I sell the capital gain is not taxed because it is my place of residence. I fail to see why it should not be included in some way in a means test to be eligible for a pension.

    Totally agree that companies not paying their fair share of tax should be made to do so and the schemes thought up by accountants to enable profits to be taken offshore so allowing companies avoid taxation on profits incurred in Australia. Companies should be deemed to earn a certain level of profits on their investments in Australia and taxed on that. If their operations are consistently unprofitable they would not be here.
    Mariner
    21st Jul 2020
    3:02pm
    Alan is right if you are living in a capital city, for us in the bush it is not that important as my unit value has not gone up by more than $100'000 and that is generous. Presently people cannot sell these places where we live so value on paper means nothing. Should they include the home in the asset test we shall try to sell the place and rent and get rent assistance while being able to keep the money from the sale and possibly get the full pension. Used to go camping and now we are going to 4-5* places for 4 weeks a year. Punish the savers and they soon get rid of problems.
    GrannyH
    21st Jul 2020
    11:04am
    So sick of hearing this issue being brought up so any times! No way should our homes be included in the asset test. I live on the pension only and have a nice home but I would be destitute if my pension was reduced because of my home.
    Garyand
    21st Jul 2020
    11:08am
    Remembering what happened to the ALP at thas last election, it would be a very bold move indeed for any political party to take this on. Mind you, if ever enacted, think of the offsets for negative gearing that would be involved..
    Fedup
    21st Jul 2020
    11:57am
    You can’t negatively gear your home. It’s not income producing. And many people on the age pension don’t pay income tax anyway.
    On the Ball
    22nd Jul 2020
    6:26pm
    Clive Palmer "won" the last election for the LNP by giving them preferences and spending $65million on false and misleading advertising.
    Horace Cope
    21st Jul 2020
    11:12am
    "Do you think the family home should be included in the means tests for the Age Pension? Are you frustrated that this is constantly raised as a solution to tax problems?"

    Short answer: No and Yes.

    Here we have an academic living in the bubble of university life with an opinion on how others should be treated by a government. I note that no mention has been made of the difference in pension rates for homeowners who get a lesser amount than non-homeowners. Probably doesn't suit the spurious argument.

    I'm sure that the 85% of those who oppose bringing the family home under the umbrella of an assets test would agree with me that this subject should never be raised again in this forum unless a government is prepared to go to an election with this subject as a policy.

    To bring my main argument against including the family home in the assets test once more, the value of the family home is dependent on a postcode, not the construction. Our home is comfortable and is modestly valued but if it was moved three suburbs east of here it would increase in value fourfold. It would be almost impossible to enact legislation that would allow for an equitable system to cover city, country, state and territory values.
    Hardworker
    21st Jul 2020
    12:17pm
    I totally agree Horace Cope and I too have said so before. Everyone should drop this stupidity. It would be impossible to do as the value is in the land, not in the house itself. Either way the property is not bringing in an income to live on so cannot be counted for the aged pension.
    Ella
    21st Jul 2020
    12:19pm
    As an example of home value variations: We moved from a very nice four bed plus study brick two storey home in north NSW to a two bed apartment in Perth, where our son and only grandchildren live, to see out our retirement years. The apartment cost $150,000 more (plus land tax) than we sold our home for (not counting agent fees). We pay Body Corp fees of $1080/month. We did our sums and decided this was the best option for us to be able to live independently for as long as possible. BTW options included a two bed unit in a retirement village just a little further from our son but our precious dog was not allowed and the cost was only $10,000 less. So how is it ever going to be fair and equitable to include the value of one’s home in a pension calculation? Having lived in Darwin, central Australia and other remote areas as well, I can tell you some have very high home prices.
    Mariner
    21st Jul 2020
    3:07pm
    Ella - having lived in different places you see the problems. People in universities and Grattan Institute have no clue. Possibly do not have an asset test on their public service pensions either. Do NOT listen to their bleatings any more.
    Tanker
    21st Jul 2020
    11:19am
    The usual arguments being trotted out here to protect their own personal incomes. There has been no suggestion as to the levels of taxation or how it would be applied. It would seem ridiculous for a person living in a $5 million house being able to claim a full pension. Perhaps if an inheritance tax was introduced that might quell some of the push to include the family home in a means test.
    4b2
    21st Jul 2020
    11:49am
    People living in $5 million houses would have the money to ensure their arrangements were in order to receive any benefit. Not all home owners live in Million dollar mansions. Many of us have worked hard and made other sacrifices to become home owners.
    I do support the reintroduction of inheritance tax we are one of the few established economies who have no inheritance tax.
    KSS
    21st Jul 2020
    3:26pm
    And not all who live in a $5m dollar home have cash assets to live on which is exactly why they can apply for an age pension.

    Perhaps that is what really needs looking at instead of a one size fits all inclusion of the home in the asset test.
    Farside
    21st Jul 2020
    6:54pm
    a progressive land tax would soon prompt the $5m pensioner to quit the house and find find different digs.
    Mariner
    22nd Jul 2020
    4:06pm
    Farside - good advice from someone with not much. I just look at the big picture of a lot of people I know who bought a place in a capital city in 1970 and now live in a place worth one million bucks. Why punish them, they paid their rates and outgoings for 50 years so have earned their place. Should have done it myself but I have always been a bit shiftless and did
    not settle down when our dollar was $US1.35. So really, a house for a million is only worth half that in universal money.
    Farside
    22nd Jul 2020
    9:22pm
    Mariner, $5m > $1m pensioners. A progressive land tax would recognise the difference.
    Rusty
    21st Jul 2020
    11:22am
    I started an apprentiship getting $ 15 a week and worked shift work for 30 years to provide for my family, I only had super for 20 years , but now they want to have a bite at our homes.GOOD LUCK .These overpaid bureaucrats live with there heads in the clouds and can’t see how workers have worked all there lives... Go have a latte Professor
    Brissiegirl
    21st Jul 2020
    11:22am
    More university academic garbage. As if we're not fed up with universities making money out of foreign (Chinese) students - when their true role is to properly educate young Australians as opposed to the current indoctrination methods. Yes research too - but what's written here is obviously a form of madness known only to extreme, barrow-pushing socialists. It advocates a tax on the family home - a perfect disincentive to strive for comfort and financial security in old age, in addition it's a recipe for old-age poverty. Your Life Choices - try to find some writers more representative of the wider community. Your readership would likely improve - with concomitant increase in advertising revenue. Oh, did I say advertising revenue? Private enterprise revenue? Some outfits would prefer to keep pushing the unworkable and unwanted, rather than seriously look sideways for mainstream opinion. Such a pity.
    geordie
    21st Jul 2020
    5:54pm
    Well said Brissiegirl. These universities these days are a hot bed of socialist indoctrination. The problem is that if they say something often enough it'll become fact. These articles are just a way that they (the powers that be) Use to soften us up so that it won't be such a shock when they enact them into law.
    Ive been paying almost 40% tax on income then, after tax they add all the other taxes. Registration, GST, land tax, stamp duty. The list is endless. State taxes and council taxes. I bet that if we were to look closely at what we actually get from our paycheck we'd be lucky to end up with 40cents on the dollar.
    Farside
    21st Jul 2020
    7:01pm
    Brissiegirl, what are the characteristics and attributes of the wider community and the issues that should be discussed? YLC know perfectly well this topic will trigger the same old cohort among its readers however it is useful to know what our policy makers are reading.
    Brissiegirl
    21st Jul 2020
    9:40pm
    Farside, for something edifying, I'd like to see some accounts by Post WWII immigrants of life in Australia when they arrived with nothing but the clothes on their back. How individuals back then willingly adapted, how they learned the language, how they slogged it out in back-breaking jobs, how they asked for nothing and were given nothing. Perhaps contrast those interviews with a non-English speaking family from the towers, e.g. a 25 yr. old father of five children - complaining about being quarantined for 5 days - just for comparison. Open some eyes, open some ears.
    Yes it's useful to know what our policy makers are reading, I agree with that. However this kite-flying racket has been done to death. Two years ago both Morrison and Frydenberg dismissed it, saying it's not their policy and never will be. All of them know their constituents would never stand for it but still YLC turns to writings by these socialist, over-paid academics, skilled in the art of indocrination either of students or of public policy. As someone else here insightfully said, the more it's written the more people are likely to apathetically resign themselves to it.
    Misty
    21st Jul 2020
    11:27pm
    Maybe 2 years ago it was dismissed but with the Corona Virus causing economic disaster, possibly a Depression ahead, who knows where or what the govt will try to claw back money from to try to balance the budget.
    Farside
    21st Jul 2020
    11:54pm
    history repeats itself Brissiegirl ... remember core and non-core promises – "No, there's no way that a GST will ever be part of our policy." Journalist: "Never ever?" John Howard: "Never ever. It's dead. It was killed by the voters in the last election".
    Brissiegirl
    22nd Jul 2020
    8:38am
    Remember, Farside, the GST was clearly put to the Australian public, and the public said yes. Regarding all politicians, I too maintain a healthy level of cynicism.
    Farside
    22nd Jul 2020
    11:03am
    it's inevitable the family home will be included in assets test – the only variables are when and the proportion or threshold. The arguments against it are being driven by self-interest however these will fade with time as the social demographics change.
    Brissiegirl
    22nd Jul 2020
    6:28pm
    The green-eyed monster's out in force. Unhappily for some, green-eyes don't dictate policy.
    MITZY
    21st Jul 2020
    11:25am
    IIn my life time and my husband's (me now 79) bought a block of land in Sutherland Shire paid it off from money we earned and taxed in employment. Sold it and moved into St. George area where we bought our second home from money earned and taxed in employment. My husband became ill with MS so we sold in Sydney and moved to country NSW 20 years ago, and this home was paid for outright but I worked part time for a while. The house was very large and when my husband passed away I downsized. We had a lot of expenses from both us unemployed from age 55 and working in private enterprise with no superannuation. To purchase a second-hand mobility vehicle, scooters, then wheelchairs, then lifting equipment, medical expenses, massages for my husband left me with my downsized home and the single age pension. I have managed with great difficulty on that single age pension for the past 9 years. I am so sick of these think tanks,universities and others spruiking including the family home in the assets test. For heaven's sake YourLifeChoices "stop it". All this hearsay does nothing for the mental health of the ageing population, especially those on "limited" finances and single or married age pensions only.
    Joy Anne
    21st Jul 2020
    11:25am
    This Government and others have to STOP flogging Pensioners who have paid there taxes for 45-55 years. They keep going for pensioners and it makes me sick. I don't own a home but pay massive rents. Get the businessess that don't pay tax PAY THERE FAIR SHARE.
    panos
    21st Jul 2020
    11:29am
    Another scare article not even worthy of a comment.
    leek
    21st Jul 2020
    11:35am
    A crazy idea. Houses vary in prices all over Australia. My marital home that we bought for $235k in 2001 was worth $1.2 million when we sold it in 2019. The house wasn't worth that much but the land was- postion, position, postion as they say in the real estate game. Your house doesn't put food on the table. Does the government want us to move out of the cities away from good health care so we can survive. Just crazy talk
    4b2
    21st Jul 2020
    11:42am
    The four points mentions saving tax to be lower three times.
    Why should tax on labour be higher than tax on investments?
    Let us not forget home owners especially those of pension age have paid high interest rates over the period of home ownership. Will we be able to claim interest paid deductions in assessments?
    The only fair way ahead is to broaden the GST and get rid of all other taxes.
    I would like to see the States get back their right to levy a States GST and be able to keep all the moneys raised.
    Youngagain
    21st Jul 2020
    3:55pm
    Broaden GST? Oh yeah, 4b2. Tax the hell out of the poor and let the rich get off lightly. GST is a highly regressive tax that slugs the poorest hardest. You must be among the wealthy and privileged to support broadening such an unfair impost?
    Farside
    21st Jul 2020
    7:05pm
    I agree 4b2 to broaden the GST so no exemptions however I think wait and see on any increases until there is an adequate compensation mechanism for the poor.
    Youngagain
    25th Jul 2020
    7:38pm
    Fair compensation is impossible, Farside. GST is a regressive tax. It hits proportionately, taxing the poorest most and the richest least. You can't compensate because it's simply not possible to accurately determine circumstances - same as the pension means test is a mess because it can't accurately determine financial health of an individual. Here are three examples of where the means test fails:

    Homeowner sells house to downsize. Buys land and contracts to build. Council error halts building. Centerlink assesses land and partly-built home as an asset because being incomplete, it cannot be the family home. Centrelink also assesses what is left of the proceeds of the sale of the previous home, which of course attract virtually no interest and this retiree is loathe to spend in case the development issue can be solved and the money is needed to complete building. But the owner has to rent elsewhere, pay rates, and pay legal costs to fight the council. Ultimately, with no pension income, the owner goes broke. (This is a REAL scenario that has happened to multiple retirees.)

    Pensioner claiming disability builds quasi-duplex, rents out half to a retiree who claims to be the pensioner's 'carer', so claims carer payment AND rent assistance. Carer is actually the homeowner's lover, unknown to Centrelink. The two are living high on the hog with one getting carer benefit + supplements + pensioner benefit + rent assistance and the other getting maximum income (via rent payments) and disability pension + supplements. Yet this couple will be deemed 'poor' in any official assessment.

    Retiring couple gift house and nearly all their money to their kids at age 60. At 65, claim full pension + rent assistance. Pay kids rent, but kids pay ALL their other bills and buy them a new car and new furniture every 5 years. This 'poor' pensioner couple is living it up and 'has' to take an expensive overseas holiday every couple of years to spend all their nice savings and stay under the asset limit.

    There is only ONE way to make tax fair and that is to implement a progressive income tax system with virtually no deductions or concessions, and let people retain whatever assets they can accrue without any penalty. All other taxes are regressive and inequitable.
    Farside
    25th Jul 2020
    11:26pm
    Compensation is possible Youngagain, it is just a matter of how much. Yes, some will be overcompensated and if any worse off let them make their case. There is room for generosity on compensation so it would unlikely be designed to make the poor worse off.

    As for your isolated examples, they are exceptions rather than the rule. Few will have interest in setting policy for the outliers, the point is to have a robust grievance process to deal with those cases that fall between cracks. There will always be people who game the rules. I still don't see how your pensioner couple can accumulate assets above the mx for the full pension in five years if they have given their assets away.

    I am all for progressive tax systems and turnover taxes on foreign transactions to discourage profit shifting but this is not happening any time soon. Fixing the GST is a much simpler and more likely proposition.
    Karl Marx
    21st Jul 2020
    11:42am
    The only equitable solution is a universal pension for all at 65. House, assets etc become irrelevant. Any income generated from work, interest, superannuation, stocks, share etc is taxed the same as everyone else.
    Also make companies & the wealthy pay their share in taxes instead of hiding it offshore or companies crying losses overseas to reduce tax hear. Also end companies from carrying losses over extended periods so they aren't paying taxes for years.
    The pension system is broken & that complex even the governments conflict with the interpretations. costing billions to administer sometimes wrongfully
    The tax system is also complex, simplify it
    Roughly one in three companies, including household names like BHP (AUS) DDS Pty Ltd, December 2019 article "Shell, IBM and Goldman Sachs pay no tax in Australia, despite hundreds of millions, sometimes billions of dollars in income, according to data released by the ATO this morning." Link to article
    https://www.actu.org.au/actu-media/media-releases/2019/companies-not-paying-tax-bleeding-australia#:~:text=Roughly%20one%20in%20three%20companies,by%20the%20ATO%20this%20morning.
    "The big-ticket item the data shows is that in 2016-17 a growing number of millionaires were able to avoid paying tax. Sixty-nine people who earned more than $1m in 2016-17 paid $0 in tax – an increase from 62 in 2015-16, and 48 in the year before that."
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/02/millionaires-in-australia-are-managing-a-tax-bill-of-0
    Captain
    21st Jul 2020
    12:01pm
    Karl, you are correct regarding universal pensions and taxing subsequent income. Our tax system also needs to be revised.

    I have suggested to our Federal MP, (LNP) a starting point of tax reform, however we said he did not understand the need for change or what I was proposing (a flat tax rate of 0.15 cents).

    I am sure that a think tank, with no politicans involved, could deliver a result that is fairer to all workers, companies and retired persons.
    joni
    21st Jul 2020
    11:54am
    I'm am sick of this article being raised yet again. We have already paid taxes on the money earned to purchase our homes and in our case we went without just to afford a property. I worked a 10 hour night shift, even though I had 2 children, no holidays and careful budgeting to enable us to get ahead. The Government has already profited by charging heavy fees when we sell and purchase. Leave my home alone.
    Farside
    21st Jul 2020
    7:09pm
    Joni, what fees did the Commonwealth charge when selling and purchasing your home?
    Lookfar
    26th Jul 2020
    9:59am
    Joni, you don't have to read it, you don't have to read anything on YLC, - what you are suggesting is that you want these discussions not to occur because they make you uncomfortable, - for whatever reasons.

    Others, however feel impelled to make comments, with comments exceeding 160, it is impossible to claim that no-one is interested, - it is provably a hot topic, with many angles and areas of dispute, - and agreement.

    Be comfortable, don't read it, and please desist from trying to manipulate us into not having a discussion we want to have, - check the 'no more on this discussion' on your YLC page and you won't even know what is happening. Happy ZZZs
    Lookfar
    21st Jul 2020
    11:55am
    What retirement income is all about, is income.
    At a certain income, you are eligible for the OAP. at incomes above that, a percentage or at least medical benefits are available.

    Whether you own a mansion with 14 bedrooms, or a clapboard 2 bedroom in Redfern, your house, generally speaking, produces nothing, makes nothing, earns no day to day income, so whatever size , position, suburb, view, threat of bushfire or floods, your house has, you have the same income.

    Yes, the 14 bedroom person may fill it with students, backpackers, whatever, but unless they are providing that for free, (and the Tax office will be on to that), no extra income occurs.

    We all pay a number of taxes during our lives, - that is supposed to be taxed towards our retirement, 7% of our income is slated, according to our constitution to pay for that. - whether the politicians are "borrowing " that money or not we all pay, - we are all entitled, - it is not welfare, it is pay back, - the value of our house has nothing to do with income, - income and income alone determines our eligibility to the money we have contributed all our lives, - nothing else.

    Breunig is stretching the bounds of credibility to chalenge such a solidly set in stone principle as the OAP, as it is dependant on
    Income, and it is a Right, based on a contract, including Duties.

    If Breunig was serious about reducing inequality, - which has to be reduced for our very survival as a species, he would be focussing on inheritance, - stopping inheritance to the degree that it is producing a rich leisure class regarding themselves as the Aristocracy.

    That would be very easy if the Aristocracy were not fanatically determined to keep their snouts in the big money but it would be a much fairer thing to do, - shame on you Breunig, trying to hurt the poor when you should really be challenging the Rich, = Lazy.
    Farside
    21st Jul 2020
    7:12pm
    Lookfar, got a reference to the section of the constitution that stipulates the 7% to go towards retirement?
    Lookfar
    23rd Jul 2020
    8:50am
    Farside, the short answer is "The Pension Fund was legislated under Ben Chifley in 1947.
    7.5% of wages tax goes to a Pension Fund which Menze then puts that into consolidated revenue to use wherever."

    The point is that the 7.5% of wages Tax is still being levied, - it was never cancelled, it's reason was and therefore still is, the Pension Fund.

    As we still pay that 7.5% of our wages to the Pension Fund, we have all paid for far more than our pensions.

    Why Menzies amalgamated our contributions was because the Pension fund it self was generating much interest and became too big for menzies to resist spending on other things.
    If he had been acting responsibly he would have left enough in it to ensure pensions were covered, but he had been infected with the hate the poor people bug, so he felt it was bad publicity to allow people to believe that they were covered, - there are still some people with that disease to this day, - causing argument and disruption, and more trouble than Covid 19.
    Farside
    23rd Jul 2020
    3:16pm
    Lookfar, I am familiar with the history of pensions since 1908 however I was not aware of its inclusion in the constitution hence my intrigue at your assertion that it stipulated the 7% contribution. FWIW, I disagree the 7.5% is being levied but good luck with pushing that barrow.
    Self Interest
    21st Jul 2020
    11:56am
    As someone who does not receive a pension, i would be very happy for the family home to be included in the assets test. The money saved could be used to increase benefits to those who are in more need.
    Captain
    21st Jul 2020
    12:05pm
    Please quantify the amount of money that will be saved if the home is lncluded in the Assets Test.
    BTW, I don't receive a pension either.
    Self Interest
    21st Jul 2020
    12:17pm
    The current single asset test for a homeowner is 583k, for a non home owner 797.5k. More for a couple. I imagine everyone with a home would not receive a pension. Savings would be in the billions. Would pay for a lot of tax cuts for those in more need.
    Sundays
    21st Jul 2020
    12:53pm
    Self interest, what is your suggestion for retirees whose only asset is a modest home? With no pension how are they to survive? Make them sell up, and try to rent somewhere while using up the proceeds of the sale.
    Jim
    21st Jul 2020
    12:58pm
    I am not sure I understand your proposal, self interest, how do you determine the savings, if the home was included in the asset test, you might be correct that many pensioners would lose the pension, so what do they live on? You can’t eat part of your home to sustain yourself, you can’t take a bit of it down to the grocery shop to get your groceries, no matter the value of your home, it doesn’t generate any income, so what do you suggest that people live on?
    older&wiser
    21st Jul 2020
    2:11pm
    Self-interest - clarify those you call 'in more need'. I am a single person, worked on my parent's farm before striking out and working in any job I could find, nearly all low paying, often 3 jobs to buy a dump in an undesirable area. I didn't go on overseas trips, or buy designer clothes, my last car lasted 23 years, I paid to do a course that took me nowhere, just backwards as employers do not want senior workers, particularly if they have no experience in that field. I had to go on aged pension when I became eligibile, I have only just paid off my house, used my last bit of super.
    By your assumption, just because I own a home (value less than $450k), and have no other income, I am not 'in need'. Tax cuts would be useless to me - can't get a tax cut if you don't pay any tax.
    I know plenty of people far wealthier and with far more financial stability who would get tax cuts. They are usually the ones wanting more subsidies, rebates, concessions, bonuses, allowances, etc.
    Self Interest
    21st Jul 2020
    3:29pm
    Older & wiser you have been supporting those not in need all your life. Yet you still support the idea that underserving people living in million dollar houses in the big smoke should get a pension. The tax cuts was tongue in cheek. The less well off should get a raise in their pension, the unemployed a boost to their benefits. Those without a home should get subsidised housing. But 'self interest' demands we pay pensions to millionairs. After all they vote.
    Oldman Roo
    21st Jul 2020
    3:39pm
    Self Interest , I can not help getting the impression that your opinion is more along the line of the old wealthy man,s attitude : take fromm the poor and give to the poorer , whilst the wealthy are laughing all the way to family trusts and foreign tax havens .
    If I was to pay tax on my family home , when finances are already stretched to the limit , I would have to sell and maybe find a cheap mud hut in the city or move to the Simpson Desert .
    Self Interest
    21st Jul 2020
    3:56pm
    Oldman Roo, I wish it was true. Family Trusts and foreign tax havens, now that is another story, not dealt with here. Tax the family home was never mentioned, just include in the assets test. Read an excellent article here on reverse mortgages.
    Farside
    21st Jul 2020
    7:32pm
    Oldman roo, if selling your home would force you out to the desert or a comfy mud hut then your home is unlikely to attract as much consideration as you think in determining pensions.
    Oldman Roo
    22nd Jul 2020
    4:33pm
    Just don,t get evasive and technical on on the indictment from the wealthy to the less affluent . I also consider your reference to reverse mortgages as the usual tactic to rob the hard working ordinary man of the dignity to live in his own home for his lifetime .
    Oldman Roo
    22nd Jul 2020
    4:48pm
    Farside , why are you trying to put me down about the value of my family home ? Your comment is most likely the usual wealthy denigrating the average person . Why don;t you accept the possibility that I live in the old family home with magnificent Sydney harbor views with the only income being the Pension .
    Farside
    22nd Jul 2020
    9:27pm
    Oldman Roo, I'm not putting the value of your home down at all. You are the one that said selling it would only buy you a mud hut or send you out to the desert. I'm no expert on the Sydney real estate market but my mate that sold his place with a view of Sydney Harbor did alright, and bought a both a flat and country place at Yass with the proceeds and still had coin to spare.
    Golden Oldie
    21st Jul 2020
    11:59am
    The professors at ANU must live in an ivory tower. The home is not an asset in the normal way that money in the bank is an asset. Likewise with a car. It costs maintenance and does not deliver an income that you can use for food and other neccesities. Same with a change to an annual land tax to replace stamp duty. I have paid stamp duty on the 3 houseds I have owned over a period of 35 uears, all have attracted stamp duty, so why is it reasonable to now start paying an annual tax on the value of my home until I die. Also, the supposed intelligent professors cannot see that the supposed value of these housed includes the value of the land, over which we hae never had any contol over. Prices of land/position is mainly increased by a short supply and controlled by government. Also, centralisation of jobs means that more people need to move to major cities to get work in their fields. So land prices go up, not because their little plot of land is better, but because of location.
    ronnieb
    21st Jul 2020
    12:02pm
    The problem with this kind of article is the devil/ie detail is not included. I am reasonably sure that if a bench mark of say $1m was set as the base starting point for assessment of family home plus pensioners (wholly or partly) from sayage 75 are grandfathered because they would not have had a lifetime of superannuation savings. There needs to be exemptions for people who, through no fault of their own, cannot support themselves without the pension. I know of quite a few people who own more than one property and have somehow managed to weasle a part pension. Anybody like that should be self-dependant. I didn't have any investment style super until 10 years before i retired and what i had went under during the GFC so if the goal posts aqre going to be moved the Government needs to think long and hard about the push-pull effect on the lower end of the income stream. By the way, is everybody aware that the Japanese Government charges its LNG Importers (selling LNG from Australia) charge these Importers more tax royalty than Australia does for " digging it up". Royalties are pathetically low for energy and mining companies.
    Mayesy
    21st Jul 2020
    12:04pm
    2 points
    1. re-House part of assets:- how many bloody changes are people going to make that impact on the fixed income of pensioners. Easy meat?? the last one re assets cost me 20%
    2. Their "idea" to Replace stamp duty with land tax. So i paid stamp duty- now i pay tax again, every year as a penalty?? Double dipping.
    Lookfar
    21st Jul 2020
    12:40pm
    Mayesy, my understanding of the origin of Land Tax was about the amount of money that land can earn, presuming a competent owner.
    Obviously a house rarely earns money, so should not be available to Land Tax.

    Where things go wrong, - almost always because of the greed of the richest, is for the Tax collection to take more than the Land can sustainably produce, - - this has been the demise of greedy kings, etc. for milleniums, and the best example I know of is Rome, when the rich basically took over (like now?)

    The taxes were levied on poor land to the degree that the poor could not live on their farms anymore otherwise they would be imprisoned, - they just moved to the big cities, - with undesirable effects for all.

    Back to land tax, - land tax can be good if it rewards the most productive, - probably land should be given to any with solid qualifications as to how they would manage it, and in these days we should say Sustainably, because it is probably sustainably or die, - we are at that cliff edge..

    But a house, - whether a tent or a palace, grows no food, so should not incur land tax. - Base position, any further taxes must be based on other criterion.

    So the rich and Greedy, (amazing how often those two descriptions synchronise) decided that they could not tax the rich farmers to destruction as then they would have no money at all, but were so stupid they stopped paying the army. Rome Finito.
    judderbar
    21st Jul 2020
    12:06pm
    The Total value property of a persons ownership should be included in the asset test for tax purposes to avoid the inbalance to those who for no reason of their own have not been able to own even a first home plus all those who have reached retirement & require to pay rent for their accommodation.
    Lookfar
    21st Jul 2020
    1:39pm
    Hi Judderbar, certainly everyone should be assessable with regards to income, but doesn't rent allowance protect the poorer?
    Quite probably it should be raised, - as it is a Negative income, - is that what you are arguing?

    Cheers,
    Lookfar.
    Youngagain
    24th Jul 2020
    3:13pm
    Oh yes. Screw the responsible hard worker for achieving and hand out to all the useless, irresponsible, bludgers and no-goods just so we ensure that the small minority of people who genuinely couldn't pay off a home are looked after far, far better than they are now (and they ARE looked after now!) and far, far better than half the battlers who have stood on their own two feet despite hardship and major challenges. Geez, this crap about 'no fault of their own' is tiring! Why on earth should anyone be punished for having a go? If we keep rewarding failure and punishing modest success, we'll have a society of failures and a stuffed nation.
    Jim
    21st Jul 2020
    12:12pm
    Please everyone this is a University study, it is not a government policy, the governments of all different persuasions have constantly said no, I think one of the reasons they constantly say no is because they would more than likely have to introduce a national pension for everyone? The other thing these “intellectuals” Keep coming up with is this mythical unfairness of inter generational taxation differential, I wonder some times where their information comes from, it’s been stated many times that taxation was far higher some years ago, I recall in the 70s & 80s if I worked an excess of overtime I paid up to 60% tax on the additional income, also interest rates were so much higher. Housing might be more expensive now, but as to the cause it’s not black and white, the cost of land is one of the main causes, maybe the various governments around the country should look at releasing cheap land, then the younger generation could look at building affordable housing, you know houses like the ones we used to build, 3 bed one bathroom, just a thought.
    diamond
    21st Jul 2020
    5:32pm
    "then the younger generation could look at building affordable housing, you know houses like the ones we used to build, 3 bed one bathroom"

    Try telling the younger generation that. A house like that would not be acceptable to them.
    Veritas
    21st Jul 2020
    12:16pm
    What is the point of scaring the most vulnerable when there exists inequity in the current system? And government ministers turning a blind eye to their rich mates. From Australian Unions:

    In 2014-2015, 48 Australian millionaires paid no tax – not even the Medicare levy - 19 spent over $1 million each on lawyers and accountants to “manage their tax affairs”.

    • All paid $0 in tax.
    • Had an average income of $2.46 million a year but declared to the tax office a taxable income of a combined negative $13.9 million.
    • Did not pay the Medicare Levy.
    • Twenty Eight made nearly $70 million in combined deductions, with 19 spending over $1 million each on “managing their tax affairs”.
    • Eight used negative gearing to deduct a combined $1.5 million from their tax bill.
    • One still owes a HELP debt despite being a millionaire.
    • Four didn’t even have private health insurance and didn’t pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge
    KSS
    22nd Jul 2020
    7:12am
    You are talking about 48 people. 48!! So what's your point?

    In the scheme of things the amounts you are talking about are quite simply a drop in the ocean. If you think taxing these people will solve the poverty in Australia or even a single state you are very sadly mistaken.
    Tood
    21st Jul 2020
    12:22pm
    What the govt should do is change the system, tax to include medicare and pension so that when people retire everyone gets a pension that is not means tested; does away with all this superannuation rubbish and employers could afford to employ more people.
    nina
    21st Jul 2020
    12:30pm
    homes with excessive values like above a million should be included in the pension test
    Sundays
    21st Jul 2020
    12:36pm
    ....And so says a Professor at the Australian National University who will never have to rely n the Age Pension in retirement, never be forced to sell his family home just to survive!
    Garry
    21st Jul 2020
    12:36pm
    Here we go again, and I can see it coming around the corner, the more it is raised, it will become a reality.
    However, as Humphrey Applebee says in Yes Minister, it would be a very courageous decision for a Government to make, as there would be a giant backlash from the voting senior community
    fish head
    21st Jul 2020
    12:38pm
    Want to collect more taxes? Close the loopholes for minimising income tax for the big earners and Big Business. Leave the little guys alone.Most homeowners bought and paid the taxes required to retain their properties over a lifetime. It is their final security in an increasingly expensive world.
    SP
    21st Jul 2020
    12:46pm
    If you've worked all your life and paid your taxes you should get the pension. End of story.
    Jacka
    21st Jul 2020
    12:46pm
    Yes, (stop flogging a dead horse, how many times must this issue resurface) I fully agree with the majority of comments of not including the family home in the means test. An absolute ludicrous suggestions and it's only an asset if you sell it turn it into cash.. It's where you live, it's not gold bars or diamonds or cash locked away in a safety deposit box, sitting there gathering dust. You can't eat it, you can't drink it. So if you were lost in the desert it would be of no value to you what so ever. And the continual comments, of somebody owning a $5 million dollar house are nonsensical. If you did own a $5 million dollar house you wouldn't be on a pension or a part pension as you would need a hell of a lot more money than that to maintain the dwelling. Politicians, economists and journalists should all pull their heads in and stop upsetting old age pensioners with these ridiculous remarks. Most of us spend a lifetime saving and paying off our homes so we can have a reasonably comfortable retirement.( I would refer you all to the parable of the grasshopper and the ant). Leave the people, who have paid their taxes all their lives, brought up and educated their children and had the wherewithal to plan for their futures, ALONE. If Governments can't balance their budgets, perhaps they should stop handing out taxpayers money to every dropkick and minority the comes along. I'm becoming board now, regards Jacka.
    Farside
    21st Jul 2020
    7:47pm
    don't forget people can have kids or other assets to pay for maintaining the dwelling while still receiving the age pension.
    fey
    21st Jul 2020
    12:54pm
    I know people who cashed in their super when they retired, bought a new house, car, white goods, etc., and then qualified for the full aged pension. That seems wrong to me.
    Farside
    21st Jul 2020
    7:48pm
    there are plenty of people out there enjoying their retirements within the rules, cannot knock them for not losing sleep over this issue.
    Deano
    21st Jul 2020
    1:01pm
    Good idea and about time but need to combine it with stamp duty reform.
    Farside
    21st Jul 2020
    7:49pm
    agreed Deano, stamp duty should be tapered out with existing owners exempted
    Jen50
    21st Jul 2020
    1:09pm
    I’m so tired of hearing this that I didn’t even read the article. Leave people who have worked hard and scratched & scraped to own their own homes alone! I’m almost 70, my husband is 74 and we thought we would be able to finally relax and not have to worry too much for the rest of our lives. My husband doesn’t have superannuation and I only have 10 years worth but we have a small amount of savings which could evaporate quickly if serious health issues cropped up or we needed new major home appliances or home maintenance done . We are in the middle of a pandemic which has everyone stressed to some degree. The last thing we want right now is to worry about our homes being included in the assets test.
    JoJozep
    21st Jul 2020
    1:18pm
    I wasn't going to comment. But the drivel from someone supposedly educated making such comments needs to be addressed.

    The making of Robert Breunig a Professor, shows how far University standards have dropped. He's not worth a crumpet! In fact he's a biased liar, and I challenge him to debate this issue with me.

    He is one of those greedy, meany eyed opportunists, who cannot stand people who have worked hard all their lives and now own their own home. What I challenge you for Professor are your circumstances. Things like your income, your taxes, where you live, do you get a pension, do you rent or have a comfortable mansion, how much does the ANU pay you and what side benefits.

    Maybe you have just been sacked, that's why you're showing jealousy to those still employed, or worse to helpless pensioners. Maybe this extreme stance is the only way you can survive. Wake up and try using your reserve talents if you have any. YLC, you have done this to death, are you trying to create controversy?
    Farside
    21st Jul 2020
    7:52pm
    is attacking the good Prof on his personal circumstances the basis of your challenge to debate the issue or do you actually have an evidence based counter argument?
    JoJozep
    21st Jul 2020
    1:19pm
    I did this because I couldn't tick the check box re comments
    LynJoy
    21st Jul 2020
    1:21pm
    A home is not an asset at retirement, in actuality it becomes a burden. Once you can no longer do the upkeep yourself there is nothing but costly outlay, gardening, cleaning, maintenance. On top of that some insurance companies are no longer giving discounts because of immense losses over the years.
    SuziJ
    21st Jul 2020
    1:22pm
    I get out of this argument as I'll never own a home, or even get to purchase one. I lost my parents over 50 years ago, so there's nothing to fall back on from them. I understand that most on this forum don't have their parents, but they would have been only recently (within the last 10-15 years) be deceased.

    As for savings, I'll not have much living on a full single DSP with rent assistance which is woeful at the best. It just covers my expenses with nothing to save but I still have to put funds away for CTP and servicing expenses on a 'teenage' car which is necessary to my mobility. I need to travel over 8 hours to get to my elderly family, and there's not much public transport around here.
    Jim
    21st Jul 2020
    2:17pm
    Just a question relating to when people lost their parents, are you suggesting that people who have only recently lost their parents got an inheritance, that might be the case for some, but I doubt it would be for the majority of us septuagenarians, my parents were born in the 20s grew up as working class and didn’t have a razoo when they passed away, I am not judging anyone, especially people who have been able to purchase a modest home, which nowadays could be worth a considerable amount, but if the home is all you have then you are slightly better off than a non home owner, but the difference might not be as great as some people think, I will admit I am better off than a non home owner, but I don’t think I should be punished for it, not suggesting that’s what’s happening here, just making a point.
    KSS
    22nd Jul 2020
    7:22am
    SuziJ everyone can trot out their personal sob stories and yours is not unusual. We have all made choices in our lifetime - as did our parents. The result of those choices whatever they are (even doing nothing is a choice) have consequences that we all live with later. And it is very presumptious of you to infer that everyone (except you) has inherited assets from their parents. As Jim said, that is simply just not true especially for the current crop of older Australians.

    You live 8 hours away by car from ageing family. What about those who live 5-6 hours away by plane? Or those whose entire family live overseas? Like I said, we all make choices and live with the consequences.
    GrayComputing
    21st Jul 2020
    1:22pm
    No asset test for pensioners ever again. Here is why.
    Over the past 3 months. while trying to get a pension, I have been repeatedly dunked into the government's enormous shark pool called Centrelink.
    Centrelink multiple internal system are totally out of sync.
    I got threats after threat about not supplying (the endless) documents they wanted, but which I had uploaded properly.
    It took multiple physical (covid-19 high health risk) visits to Centrelink for local staff to agree I had done it properly.
    After my first pension payment I was still threatened again with non compliance on the lack of supporting documents and that I would loose the pension!
    Centrelink is super expensive incompetent agency with its 10 thousand conflicting rules and intrusion after intrusion into peoples lives.
    Centrelink is a insane evil monster that must be burnt at the stake and ashes scattered to the winds.
    Lookfar
    21st Jul 2020
    2:06pm
    slowly and painfully..
    BillW41
    21st Jul 2020
    1:23pm
    Any kind of assets test should be abandoned. Adopt the British system of a universal pension regardless of assets or any other income. Saleries previously paid to all those public service employess checking up on who has what will go a long way to paying the extra pensions.
    Eddy
    21st Jul 2020
    1:34pm
    To include the family home in the assets test is an interesting question, mainly from the passion and vitriol generated, but looking at the question dispassionately may result in a no and yes response. It is such a complicated issue, how to get an equitable outcome. For starters the inequity in value from say a tumbledown pre-federation house on a quarter acre block in inner Sydney and a modern, large McMansion on a 5 Hectare block on the outskirts of a provincial town in rural WA. The former may be worth well in excess of $1m whereas the latter may be worth less than $700k. How does CentreLink sort that out? Then there is history, the family home has been exempted from the 'means' test since 1912, why change now.
    One reason to change is the couples, usually very well off, who convert the bulk of their assets (ie superannuation, savings and sale of existing home) into a very high value home so they can get a full pension even though the total value of their assets (including home) may exceed $3 million. They call this 'estate planning', to preserve their assets for their beneficiaries.
    How do we equitably resolve these and other issues which may be raised. I am confident that if the home is included in the assets test, and appropriate adjustment made to the asset limits, most people will be unaffected.
    Lookfar
    21st Jul 2020
    2:09pm
    Good old Death Tax, saviour of democracy by destroying the Aristocracy
    Alan
    21st Jul 2020
    1:36pm
    I strongly support the inclusion of the value of the house for pensions to stop those with large expensive houses from using this asset to provide for an inheritance for their children and have the public purse pay them a modest pension. Effectively this means that the government is providing the funds for the children's inheritance.

    I could rearrange my affairs and live in a McMansion in an expensive part of town and then qualify for a part pension. My children would receive a larger inheritance made possible by by being selfish.
    Jim
    21st Jul 2020
    2:30pm
    No Alan the person leaving the asset is financing their children’s inheritance, not the government, it doesn’t matter how much a house is worth it’s a place where someone may have lived for years and has increased in value, what you and others are suggesting is that pensioners should uproot and move out of an area where their family and friends might live, that might include pensioners that have lost their partner, I have seen reports that people suffer from depression and other health related issues that are made worse if you are uprooted from familiar surroundings. So some are saying that’s a selfish approach if you refuse to sell up and move to a cheaper area, sorry I disagree.
    Eddy
    21st Jul 2020
    4:00pm
    Jim, Alan is not referring to people who stay in their family home, he is referring to those who, on or around retirement, minimise their assessable assets by upsizing to a high value home. In which case their children's inheritance is financed by the taxpayer in the increased old age pension paid to the parents rather than having them live off their accumulated savings. This could be a good argument to pay a universal pension partly financed by Death Duty but that is another discussion.
    Youngagain
    21st Jul 2020
    4:08pm
    So, Alan, you are okay with the taxpayer funding retirement for gamblers and drinkers and bludgers - giving them $1 million to support their continued comfort after they blew all their income being irresponsible - but you don't think it reasonable that those who paid far more tax during their working lives be allowed to use the home they struggled to pay off and paid high rates and insurance and maintenance costs on for decades to give their kids or grandkids a leg up? Why should taxpayer money be given to some but denied to others because they potentially worked harder and lived more responsibly?

    Government has reaped countless thousands from me in stamp duty, council rates, tax on home insurance, GST on home maintenance and improvements, as well as high income tax. Now Government is winning by not paying me a full pension and not giving me rent assistance. And you want me denied the right to help my grandkids get a good education - which will benefit the nation by enabling them to earn more and pay more tax - as punishment for battling to pay off a home? Yet if I had blown all my income partying, you would be quite happy for me to take $1 million+++ from the taxpayer to fund my own retirement?

    How will the nation benefit from rewarding wasters and punishing people who battle to pay off a home and plan to help the next generation of their family achieve greater financial security? Is it really helpful to put my grandkids at risk of being welfare-dependent so that other people's grandkids can pay less tax? I would have thought it far more sensible to encourage and reward responsible living that makes responsible families better off.
    Jim
    21st Jul 2020
    4:40pm
    Eddy, with all due respect that’s not what Alan has said, I don’t know if you know this person or have read somewhere else what his thought process is, but he is not the only person on this site who are saying the same thing, and that is they believe that the family home should be included in the asset test for the pension, and accusing people of selfishness because they disagree with the inclusion of the family home, everyone is entitled to their opinion and everyone looks at the way something affects them. But there seems to be an assumption that people can or want to sell their home to either create a nest egg for their families or to minimise their assets so they can get a pension, I can assure anyone that wants listen, that the modest home I bought in 1967 wasn’t part of some plan of mine to accrue a nest egg for my children, I have no intention of selling my home to downsize if I did it would have to be to a caravan or a shed, most modern houses would have a garage bigger than my place. The idea of a universal pension seems to me to be a good starting point, and any income above that should be taxed, maybe at a lower rate because as some people have stated much of this income may have already been taxed once, just my opinion of course.
    Curious
    21st Jul 2020
    1:37pm
    Below are a few comments re takes on large corporations. I heard something similar to large companies such as Ikea not paying tax. Are there others and WHY don't they pay tax?
    MJM
    21st Jul 2020
    1:44pm
    6 years ago I was retiring at 60... then it moves to 67!! Hopefully it won’t go up again before I get to 67!! The people who own houses have worked hard paid taxes put millions into business when they fill these places with furniture renovations etc... not to mention sacrifices of paying a mortgage... unlike the neighbours I see who never work drink VB at 9am live in rental right on the lake.... so not only am I keeping a roof over my head and securing my kids futures so they won’t be a burden on society I am paying these bludgers with my taxes.... stay off my property... get your money from rich investors and other millionaires ... I’m not one of them
    Old Fella
    21st Jul 2020
    1:52pm
    On the current speculation that some form of vague equity and intergenerational inequality will be addressed and available should home values be included in the Aged Pension Assets test eludes me. It has taken a lifetime or other long term time, in employment, to progress through to home ownership. Currently, more and more employment opportunities are disappearing per technology advances achieving increased Corporate Profit only. Consequently fewer younger members of Society are going to have the wealth to acquire property. How then will intergenerational inequality be addressed. And bluntly what equity will be available to Old age people forced to sell property to meet their day to day needs, without income and worse without a home.
    Or is this whole proposed fiasco a Political stunt to provide statistical record that will show more people in the same cohort , that being; out of home, out of work and out of youthful advantage. I acknowledge this proposal may demonstrate equitable and impersonal numeric statistical outcomes , but it will not have changed actual Community/Society or individual people betterment.
    Finally I ask should the Government succeed in reducing Old age pension costs how will those savings be redirected, used or applied to what purposes. The vague notion of equity, intergenerational inequality targeted with this proposal still eludes me.
    Lookfar
    21st Jul 2020
    2:35pm
    Hi Old Fella, - i too would love to see their downstream justifications, - i suspect, as you seem to, that they have no idea except personal greed.

    To that they hold very tightly, = disgusting.
    Chris B T
    21st Jul 2020
    1:53pm
    People with set pensions/government retirement funded schemes that are well above the OAP are making decisions on how those who are reliant on OAP. (Not on same type of benefit)
    The compulsory super has another 24 years to run before the full benefit is realised.
    The ones already on OAP certainly never had the benefit some only a few years.
    This conversation about what "Assets" is 20 years to early, to allow some sort equality generally speaking.
    Jacka
    21st Jul 2020
    1:54pm
    Here here MJM, couldn't agree more. Jacka.
    ronloby
    21st Jul 2020
    2:02pm
    Typical news before an election. It is the same old scheme, look after the rich, mates and bugger the rest. It is about time ALL companies in Australia paid a tax on all profits raised in this country. Nothing sent to a tax haven it all stays here. But that will never happen because that is where most donations come from for a government.
    Anonymous
    21st Jul 2020
    3:40pm
    What election? I am not aware of one.
    Anonymous
    21st Jul 2020
    3:40pm
    What election? I am not aware of one.
    stevo
    21st Jul 2020
    2:28pm
    If you are an Old Age Pensioner and you live in your own home WHICH YOU HAVE PAID OFF OVER MANY YEARS DURING YOUR WORKING LIFE why should it be included in the Means Test?
    That is simply MEAN and could effect millions of people who just live on the Old Age Pension only. Give us a break; we have worked, paid our taxes all our working life so now you want to TAX US ON OUR HOME THAT WE LIVE IN A PAID FOR OVER DECADES???????
    Alexii
    22nd Jul 2020
    10:13pm
    That's exactly what this LNP government (and probably the ALP) would like to do, stevo. They don't give a stuff about people such as you and me. Its easier to flog us.
    Brissiegirl
    21st Jul 2020
    2:57pm
    Where's the university academic on this: a hairdressing business has been receiving the jobkeeper subsidy for more than 2 months, despite her staff all being back at work a long time ago. And she's laughing about it. Today we receive a letter from our allocated pension fund advises the government will allow them to pay out the minimum annual sum instead of making us take the usual amount. Well, well, well. They allow working age persons to take $20,000 out of their accumulated contributions, but pensioners are encouraged to scale down to the minimum. That'll be the frosty Friday. We'll be electing to draw down exactly the same amount as we always do. Why would pesioners need any less than businesses rorting the Jobkeeper, $750 per week per employee, even though they've all been back at full time work for months.
    This talk about taxing the family home is utter nonsense. These university academics are causing enough trouble with their political indoctrination methods during the last 29+ years without trying to dictate to government that the family home is up for grabs. I don't care how much anyone's home is worth. Who says $1M is an excessive value? Depends on where it is. It also depends on who is determining what is excessive value under all the personal circumstances. Just imagine the huge variable valuation costs, and legal appeals, built into such a ridiculous scheme. A scheme for schemers.
    et54
    21st Jul 2020
    3:15pm
    I agree with PJ’s comments. Go after millionaires who pay no tax!
    Life experience
    21st Jul 2020
    3:29pm
    Do I think the family home should be included in means test - No.
    Already the pension is effected by being allowed reduced assets outside the home, if you are a home owner.
    And it would be tax in tax. Why would we ever buy a home ? Pay massive stamp duty and then means tested too ?
    Waiting to retire at 70
    21st Jul 2020
    3:38pm
    The Tax and Transfer Policy Institute (TTPI) at ANU was set up by the Abbott/Hockey boofheads with a government grant in 2013. Of course they would say this.

    More biased and flawed PIFFLE from Canberra bubble hangers on. Even a modicum of research into the publishers of this report would quickly show up the potential for bias. It passes neither the 'pub test' nor the academic test.

    Obviously it's easier to just republish a press release to help them achieve their "publish or perish" academic obligations. Publishing a press release is NOT YET journalism in Australia, even in this day and age. Get real.

    21st Jul 2020
    3:46pm
    I do not know about putting the house in asset test but I do believe the pension will be adjusted down with all the money they have paid out in welfare I don't see there being much choice all welfare will be reduced as there will not be enough taxation paid by workers to cover the huge amount of welfare that is now paid especially in pensions which is a huge impost perhaps pensions maybe reduced to taxation one has paid over a lifetime who knows?
    Captain
    21st Jul 2020
    5:36pm
    Robin, I don't receive a pension, however I would be happy to receive the taxes I paid as a pension.
    diamond
    21st Jul 2020
    5:39pm
    "perhaps pensions maybe reduced to taxation one has paid over a lifetime who knows? "

    How would they work out the taxation one has paid out over a lifetime - by the same method as the Robot debt was calculated?
    Youngagain
    21st Jul 2020
    3:50pm
    The means test should be abolished. End of discussion. It is extremely inequitable and discourages both saving for retirement and working part time or casual in retirement to boost income - both of which should be ENCOURAGED AND REWARDED, not punished. Other countries do not torment the aged and punish them for striving, and nor should we.

    Including the family home in the assets test would create a nightmare. While the assets test remains, fairness demands the family home be included, but there is simply no way to value it fairly given the disparate valuations of homes in different localities and the different circumstances of home owners. Further, why should renters be given handouts to fund accommodation but home owners - who incur heavy accommodation expenses - be further deprived?

    As for dividends, taxing them would further exacerbate the gross unfairness that exists already between battling SFRs and pensioners. Already, SFRs relying on dividends to survive are, in many cases, poorer in income terms than pensioners. Taxing their dividends would merely drive more asset divestment and reliance on a pension. SFRs would throw up their hands and say 'Why bother?'. They paid their share already. They are paying again by not drawing a pension. And now some greedy idiots want to insist they should pay THREE TIMES OVER. When will the greed and selfishness end?
    Lookfar
    21st Jul 2020
    6:33pm
    Youngagain, there is no relationship between people with no house getting rent assistance, and people with houses having to maintain them, - of course the Govt would like you to set against your fellow aged person, - divide and conquer is the name of the game, but the only winners are the multibillionaires.
    They are neither right nor left, but a peculiar form of egotistic anarchism called Stirnirite anarchism
    Until you wake up to that you are mere putty in their claws.
    Youngagain
    24th Jul 2020
    3:05pm
    What are you ranting about, Lookfar? Your comment makes no sense as a response to mine. But I seem to recall YOU constantly attacking SFRs and implying there is greater virtue in being a pensioner - setting pensioners against SFRs.

    The fact is that renters get handouts to help with accommodation costs, while home owners are punished for owning a home if they fall under the assets test, and regardless pay hefty taxes (council rates and GST on insurance policies and maintenance costs), incurring heavy costs to live in their own home. To further punish homeowners would drive many to divest and claim rent assistance, because it's just not worth the effort to be self-sufficient under current conditions, let alone if the bashing of the more self-sufficient continues to increase.
    Veritas
    21st Jul 2020
    3:52pm
    A paragraph in The Taxation Savings in Australia produced by the TTPI gives an indication of one direction a tax could go on the family home:

    "Beyond appeals to the ‘unique nature’ of the family home, the usual concern of including the family home in means tests is that it is a highly illiquid asset which cannot be accessed to pay for services. However, as discussed in Productivity Commission (2013), this problem can be overcome by allowing older Australians without liquid assets to defer the payments for these services until death, at which point the house is sold and the debt is settled. Table 10 of Productivity Commission (2017b) gives examples of similar schemes operating in Australia and overseas."

    In plain words, a good old death tax; a tax that was abolished in Australia in 1979. "Services" was not defined in the article.
    midnight
    21st Jul 2020
    3:53pm
    How can it possibly be a solution to the Governments Tax problems? I'm a 70 year old single female who has worked my whole life, supported my children, spent a life tine being frugal and the one saving grace is that I own my own home. I don't know how I would have survived the past 3 months without a pension, if I had to pay a mortgage. It just becomes a punishment. I knew I should have partied out a lot more. Silly me for trying to be responsible.
    Willfish
    21st Jul 2020
    4:02pm
    Yes, some issues are sacred - especially anything that smells like change. Everyone wants change and thinks that they should be exempt and some other group should pay for it. What we really need is a complete review of the taxation system that includes closing tax loopholes for multi-nationals, the wealthy, the asset rich, franking credits and negative gearing, amongst others. Yes, it might also hit your pocket, but it needs to be equitable, wide ranging, and comprehensive. Yes, and it will mean change!. The only certainty in life is change, and even that is changing!!
    45er
    21st Jul 2020
    4:22pm
    This proposal is not equatable in any way. The value of a person's home can vary between areas of the same suburbs, between suburbs, between cities, between states, between rural and built up areas. The values change in line with changes in the area over time, changes in services, jobs, education, roads, and transport all effect the priice at any particular time. The value is a different thing altogether. The value is related to what alternatives are availabe to provide a suitable accommodation.
    This is all very difficult to administer by using any method, and does not, as others have mentioned, remove the double taxation issue.
    Dot
    21st Jul 2020
    4:24pm
    Once again the extreme left are pushing to have the family home means tested. Our universities are a breeding grounds for the extreme left. As a toddler arriving here as a misplaced person my greatest fear was of World wars, KKK, neo Nazi's and white supremacy.
    My parents had to work hard to put food on the table, in turn my husband and I worked hard without any assistance from the government or bleeding hearts. Every thing we own we paid for, no damn organisation to help us out. Today we are saturated with other cultures which are costing us billions of dollars while at the same time our veteran's are being abandoned. Should an extreme far right party run for Government they'll get my vote. Enough is enough with the extreme far lefties. They have destroyed this country like the rest of the western world.
    Fedup
    21st Jul 2020
    4:33pm
    What a load of crap! You have absolutely no evidence that including the home in the assets test is an ‘extreme left’ plot. It’s actually the Liberals who always bring up the idea. You want to vote for an extreme right govt and give us someone like Trump? Because that’s working out so well. Have you been to university? If not you can’t comment on what they are breeding grounds for.
    Brissiegirl
    21st Jul 2020
    5:02pm
    Dot, whatever you do, don't allow contrary opinions to stop you from saying what it is you feel concerned about. You don't need to have been a university student to know what is going on in those places in recent decades. It's all around us. Indeed campuses are breeding grounds for left-wing extremists who do everything in their power to shut down conservative opinion. It is obscene how those at the top, through lecturers, are indoctrinating students in a way that history records as dangerous. Aside from left-wing politicians who like to rub shoulders with the wealthy, themselves living to a standard that their constituents will never have, their policies are socialist, they believe in being rich themselves with the goal of making everyone else "equal" (equally poor). I've never heard the liberals raise this idea - it seems to be very well-off socialist researchers. The Polish man near us has often expressed his utter dismay about what is happening to this country - the hand-outs, the long-term immigrant unemployed, the unwillingness to learn English. When they came here there was nothing for them. They lived in hardship, worked like trojans and made a real go of being contributing Australians. No doubt you are one of those people too, and it's very well worth listening to your life-stories because they have meaning and worth.
    Dot
    21st Jul 2020
    5:36pm
    Reply to Brissiegirl. Funny you should mention the Polish man, both my parents were Polish.
    They were 15 and 14 the last time they saw their parents before being taken to work in the labour camps. In 1950 they arrived in Australia. Dad worked in the asbestos mine later died from this disease. They applied for state housing and waited some years in the end managed to purchase their own home. As I watch the massive units in Victoria filled with foreigners who not only cost us billions but refuse to live by laws or being patriotic to this country. I voted Labor most of my life because it was suppose to be the working man's party, what a bloody fool I was. Being patriotic and loyal to this country is a criminal offence. By the way my husband was on pension for seven years before I was entitled to one.
    diamond
    21st Jul 2020
    5:43pm
    "Should an extreme far right party run for Government they'll get my vote"

    Dot didn't your family come here to escape an extreme far right regime?
    geordie
    21st Jul 2020
    6:30pm
    Good on you Dot.
    Get your head out of the sand fedup. Stop listening to main stream media and do some research for yourself. All the trouble in the US is not Trump its the lefties and the unwitting democrats.
    Misty
    22nd Jul 2020
    4:21pm
    Some of the trouble in the USA, especially the Corona Virus handling, has been caused by Trump's handling, or should I say Not Handling the Pandemic. How could anyone have any f aith in him after watching that interview on the weekend, saying USA has the lowest no of deaths in the world and if they didn't test so many people America would not have so many cases. How can you dispute the facts?, Trump does, calls it "Fake News".
    Youngagain
    24th Jul 2020
    3:00pm
    Fedup, you are dead wrong, sorry! Means testing is a LABOR innovation. Both the income and the assets tests were introduced by Labor. The far left (Greens) are responsible for getting the assets limits reduced dramatically a few years ago. It was Hockey's idea, but the Greens got it passed. Labor has ALWAYS supported the socialist/communist approach of bashing the responsible worker/saver. Funny thing is, Labor voters think Labor looks after the working man, and sure Labor is good at creating that deception, but it IS a deception. Labor looks after the rich. Labor extends welfare for the purpose of keeping people down, but structures it such that there is minimal or no reward for striving to escape the welfare trap.

    Right now, Labor is demanding the superannuation levy be increased to 12%. They say it's to give workers a better retirement. But the truth is that it is more money for the rich. The rich get massive tax benefits on their super contributions and income. The middle class get modest benefits. The poor get virtually nothing. Both middle class and poor will be punished for saving for retirement by reduction of pension benefits, so upping the super levy will benefit the wealthy, not the working class. And if employers have to contribute more to super, they obviously won't have as much to pay increased wages. So the working class loses. But Labor keeps on lying and blinded Labor voters keep on swallowing the lies.
    marls
    21st Jul 2020
    4:51pm
    No other civilised country in the world means tests the family home nor do they have a means test it’s just Australian greedy gvt
    skinner
    21st Jul 2020
    5:01pm
    These authors are absolute moronic idiots to suggest these things! Those countless pensioners who own their home have worked long & hard to be able yo get their property & they should NEVER be victimised by a cruel, stupid government, for owning their own property! As for imputation credits, they are as essential part of both the income for pensioners who have shares & allow a tax paid asset to be theirs. Imputation Credits, IC were introduced in 1987 to stop share owners being doubly taxed on their dividends, once where the company pays tax on the dividends & then when the owner gets taxed on the same dividends, as if no tax had been paid This is an absolute disgrace to even consider these two ways of making 'easy' money for the gov & must not be allowed to happen, ever!
    Nerk
    21st Jul 2020
    5:55pm
    Screw the pensioner and you'll get screwed at voting time.
    Farside
    21st Jul 2020
    11:08pm
    depends, most retirees and a big chunk of aspirational pensioners vote coalition
    Youngagain
    25th Jul 2020
    7:19pm
    We don't have a choice when it comes to voting. Both parties are equally evil and both parties persecute retirees. They just sing a different set of lies.
    Farside
    25th Jul 2020
    11:28pm
    my point is it would not be as difficult for the coalition to bring in changes that some pensioners dislike because they would experience less voter backlash.
    The Old Meanie
    21st Jul 2020
    6:07pm
    The argument that any changes will make the pension more equitable is a furphy. It cannot account for the different circumstances of those who have saved all their life and accrued savings or a better home and those who have spent every cent, and now receive assistance in paying their rent (plus all the permutations in between).
    Also, why is it that experts who want dividend imputation scrapped do not understand that this is tax the shareholder has already paid? Not allowing it in taxable income would mean shareholders whose net income is below the threshold would pay tax - so much for equity !
    bobm
    21st Jul 2020
    6:18pm
    Interesting from Professor Breunig. He is sitting in a gold castle, getting paid to write this garbage, may not have worked in the real world. It appears he has spent his working life in a Educational Institution who are so far out of realty of the normal working person.
    I worked hard, made the decisions to how my future will pan out, provided for my family, with housing, education and at the same time spent 25years (every year) at TAFE becoming educated while working.
    Yes I became a Lecturer, however I had the practical experience to carryout my job in TAFE. I made sure my students received the teaching plus how to become practical in the real world.
    All this was done with after tax salary.
    A lot of Academics are provided with University Accommodation and don't have to worry about the costs to own a house.
    Enough said, my daughter works at a Uni and has mentioned the benefits of Uni housing by the Lecturers etc.
    Farside
    21st Jul 2020
    11:13pm
    bobm, you might want to fact check "A lot of Academics are provided with University Accommodation and don't have to worry about the costs to own a house" in light of the information that 72% of staff at Australia richest uni are casual or short-term employees, scarcely the sort of people you would provide accommodation. I know several uni lecturers and ass. professors and none have their accommodation provided.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-17/university-casual-workforce-redundancies-dirty-secret/12462030
    Aggle
    21st Jul 2020
    6:38pm
    Don't include the family home in the assets test and don't abolish franking credits. Too many retirees have based their retirement on these things remaining constant. If people are ripping off the franking credits system by using them to offset business losses, then cap franking credits.
    Lookfar
    21st Jul 2020
    6:51pm
    Right on Aggie, good old commonsense.
    hyperbole
    21st Jul 2020
    7:48pm
    not going to bother commenting...it does not concern me one way or another
    Veritas
    21st Jul 2020
    7:56pm
    Mrs. Jones, widowed and 60 years old, buys a lovely two-bedroom unit in Lower King Street, Caboolture, Queensland for $139,000. It is handy to everything. Under Professor Breunig’s scheme—if adopted—the government would buy a futures contract on the value of Mrs. Jones’ flat in repayment for ‘services’ until she dies. Professor Breunig, being a fellow of academia, would have based his assessment on modeling something like the following.

    Let’s say, the government deems a 15% increase in real estate values over 20 years.
    It is now 2040. Mrs. Jones’ flat based on future assessment is now worth $159, 850.
    Over the 20 years, Mrs. Jones required the following services.
    Dentures, upper and lower, $2,199; Mobility scooter, $3,190; hip replacement, $42,007; knee replacement, both knees, $30,000; Cardiac stent, $7,800; pacemaker, $12,300; in home car, lifetime limit, $60,000; doctors fee, long consultation, $95 X’s 20 visits=$1900; average cost of prescription drugs per annum, $5,800 over 14 years=81,200.
    Total:$240, 569.
    The government in this instance would make what is called a Margin Call on their future contract—80-year-old Mrs. Jones now has 30 days to deposit $80,719 to make up the margin, or find alternate accommodation!
    Misty
    21st Jul 2020
    11:42pm
    If they had a Death Tax in Italy, Brazil, USA then the Govt of those countries would be reaping a fortune, while this virus is still here and we have no vaccine I thinkinclug
    Misty
    21st Jul 2020
    11:46pm
    The comment should read" I think that including the Family Home in the Assets Test is the last thing on the govts agenda right now".
    Mariner
    22nd Jul 2020
    3:58pm
    Misty - if they do not have death taxes they DO have inheritance taxes - same thing. Going through that in the last few months in matters overseas.
    KSS
    22nd Jul 2020
    7:37am
    I'm surprised there are no comments pointing out that the family home (or your main residence) is alreadfy included in the asset test for an age pension.

    A single HOMEOWNER can have $268000 (couple $401,500) in assets whilst a NON-homeowner can have $482,500 (couple $616,000) for full pensions.

    Part pension assets are $583,000 for single homeowner ($876,500 couple) and $797,500 non-homeowner ($1091,000 non-homeowner couple).

    So homeowners are already assessed differently despite all the outgoings that are involved with your own home that renters do not have to pay such as maintenance, strata fees, council rates etc.
    Mariner
    22nd Jul 2020
    10:17am
    Nice of you to bring this up again, KSS! Lots of folk do not know that or simply do not want to know.
    Veritas
    22nd Jul 2020
    12:50pm
    A good point indeed.
    Alexii
    22nd Jul 2020
    10:17pm
    Quite right,KSS. Again it's this unfair treatment of people who have worked hard and invested wisely, as we thought, to own our home. Along the way many of us have not had the spare cash to get other things that we would have liked to have bought eg a boat to go fishing, or a tractor that would be handy on my rural block, and so on.
    Alexii
    22nd Jul 2020
    5:48pm
    It's just so much easier for government too keep on flogging retirees, to keep changing the goal posts for retirees and every time they do I find that I'm that bit worse off and of course so are many other retirees. It's too hard for them to ensure the wealthiest and high income earners and big businesses pay the tax they ought to be paying. It's more beneficial for the politicians to give the high income earners a gift by reducing their tax rates.
    Have you seen the figures released by the tax department this week? For instance there were a big number of people earning between $100K and 1 million who paid no tax! Now lower income earners could never come up with schemes to legally avoid paying tax on their incomes getting it right down to zero tax. Its disgusting that this can happen.
    Priscilla
    22nd Jul 2020
    6:23pm
    No, definitely not! Turn everyone into renters. The idea of owning a home is to make it easier to make ends meet. If I had to pay rent I would be struggling to exist. If have struggled and gone without to pay for my home when I could have just rented and have nothing to show for my money. NO!
    I
    On the Ball
    22nd Jul 2020
    6:23pm
    "most types of savings should be taxed at the same rate" WHY tax saving at all?
    Tax has already been paid on savings! Maybe they meant savings interest? That's already taxed.
    Googlke Australia's top 40 tax dodgers by Michael West. You will see where your money goes!
    LNP: TAX THOSE THAT CAN AFFORD IT!!
    Alexii
    22nd Jul 2020
    10:10pm
    Ye, On the Ball, it would be pretty rough to tax savings. We need to go back to a genuine progressive tax system but of course that won't happen as they keep on flattening out the the income tax rate as that suits the wealthiest people. The GST, being a flat tax, is absolutely unfair to lower income people, pensioners, etc - again that suits the wealthiest.
    Veritas
    23rd Jul 2020
    5:29pm
    The Government already taxes your savings:

    If you don't give a bank your TFN, the institution will take out the tax at the highest rate, but only if the interest earned is more than $450 pa. The ATO requires all Australians to declare interest in savings because it is regarded as 'income earned'. Below $18,200, zero tax. 19c for each dollar over that up to $37,001, where you pay $3,750 plus 32c for each dollar up to $90,000, and so on.

    When buying shares, you pay a capital gains tax on any profit from those shares, but only when you sell them. Conversely, if you sell at a loss, you declare a capital loss that can be carried over to the next year.
    Oxleigh
    22nd Jul 2020
    9:43pm
    Same old same old, this is a never ending story, we are falling into the same old rhetoric that all governments use, pay someone different every couple of months for a year or so to bring up this subject and get the population to get sick of it and forget it after a while.
    Then BANG bring it in and hope everyone has forgotten about it or got used to hearing about it. It has happened with the GST and every other unpopular decision that the governments have instigated.
    We wont forget this deceit and low act, no home to be used as an asset, WE VOTE and and we will remember.
    Farside
    23rd Jul 2020
    3:24pm
    um Oxleigh, it may be unpopular but the GST did happen, and so it is almost inevitable the family home will become included in the assets test; it's just a matter of when. At the moment there is no appetite for a political stoush over tax and welfare reform however that will change.
    Malbra
    26th Jul 2020
    1:00pm
    I agree with Alan........the family home should be included in the means test.........employees should be contributing at least 5% of their income into super which is in addition to the SGL paid by employers. This way their super nest egg will support them and not be relying on Government handouts at retirement. Also Australian companies should have a tax on total revenue and overseas companies operating in Australian should not be allowed to offset their profits by transfer pricing systems.
    PC 63
    26th Jul 2020
    1:01pm
    I paid $32,000 for my home and have been in it most of my life. I'm a self funded retiree and am almost getting forced out by the rates due to increased property prices.If I were a pensioner I would be very bitter being forced out of my home and Town after 65 years.
    Fedup
    26th Jul 2020
    1:17pm
    Actually part of the value of your home is already included in the assets test.

    A non-home owner can have $482,500 in assets and get a full pension.

    A home owner can have $268,000 in assets (+ their home) and get a full pension. Which effectively means the home is counted as an asset worth $214,500. For people whose homes are worth that, or less, it’s already being included. For other pensioners part of your home value is really already included, although this isn’t stated.
    BillW41
    26th Jul 2020
    1:41pm
    I suppose we should thank our lucky stars we got rid of Keating's iniquitous FID and FED taxes from the '80s/'90s.
    Helen
    26th Jul 2020
    6:46pm
    I get a pension that I have to stretch over the fortnight, I don’t have any money left over after everyday bills and food.
    How the hell can the government justify stealing more by making it means tested?
    Youngagain
    27th Jul 2020
    9:48am
    Today's hideous asset test limits were set in a time when interest rates were 7%+ plus. Although they have been indexed, they have not been adjusted to reflect the fact that when they were set, anyone with savings over the limit could easily generate a living income just through safe term deposits in a bank. That is no longer the case, and therefore the assets test limits are totally unrealistic and unfair.

    The good professor might like to consider that our parents were earning high interest rates on secure investments when we were all struggling with 17%++ interest rates, but I don't recall ever hearing anyone say our parents should be give up their comfort to help us pay off our homes. No. We treated the aged with respect, and wanted them to enjoy a good life in a well-earned retirement. Now, we are seeing hideous greed, but interestingly the greediest and most selfish are those who, like the Professor, will probably never need to rely on a pension and will never be impacted by the shockingly cruel and unfair changes he wants implemented.


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