Franking credits are being ‘rorted on an industrial scale’

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Franking credits are being “rorted on an industrial scale”, says economist Chris Richardson, who adds that Labor’s franking credits policy won’t fix the system, and suggests that superannuation reform might instead be the answer.

“I think the tax benefit should be there, but it is being rorted – and rorted on an industrial scale,” Mr Richardson told 7.30.

“It’s a tax benefit that’s most valuable if you have lots of Australian shares and you have a low rate of tax.

“Now, that is a basic description of the superannuation system in Australia – lots of Australian shares, low rate of tax.”

Mr Richardson says Labor’s solution to the franking credit conundrum may not be fair for all.

“Given the way they’re doing it, they’re fixing one fairness problem [which] is costing more money than it should. They’re genuinely fixing that,” he said.

“But they are creating some new fairness problems for some retirees at the same time.

“There are still a bunch of people who I think will be unfairly treated.”

The policy Labor is taking to the federal election will mean that those on a full Age Pension or part-pension will still be able to receive the franking credit cash refunds.

But households with one member still working could see those refunds removed. Once both members retire, however, they would then be re-eligible for the refunds.

Some retirees are warning Labor that they will send them a message and change their vote at the next election.

“It would sway the way I vote because if they’re going to affect my future, then I need to very carefully consider who I vote for,” said one swinging voter who resides in a Labor electorate.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen is not swayed and says Labor’s policy won’t change.

“The policy we’ve announced is the policy we are taking to the election,” he told 7.30.

“All reform worth doing is controversial, and I understand that people will look at our policies and will make judgements, but we have announced the policy, [and] we are standing by it.

“We know this is the right thing to do. We know this money is important for investing in schools and hospitals, returning the budget to balance.

“We can no longer be the only country in the world that provides tax refunds to shareholders who have not paid the income tax to start with. If you pay tax, we will refund it, but if you don’t pay tax there is nothing to refund.”

However, Mr Richardson claims the franking credits scheme should remain but that changes to superannuation could make the whole system fairer.

“Superannuation funds make out like bandits around this stuff. And particularly so, the sort of family superannuation funds,” he said.

“It costs too much.

“I think the best way to fix it would actually be proper reform of the superannuation system.”

Will Labor’s franking credits policy change the way you vote in the next election? Do you think superannuation could be reformed and that franking credits should remain?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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339 Comments

Total Comments: 339
  1. 0
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    A little common sense on the issue – something Shorten and Bowen clearly lack:

    “How Labor should resolve the franking credits debate?

    The Labor Party is holding tough on its franking credits policy but will no doubt compromise if it believes it could cost them the election, something which has come into the frame after today’s Ipsos poll suggesting a narrowing 51-49 two party preferred vote in favour of Labor.

    Whilst asylum seeker policy is regarded as politically influential, the franking credits policy is also starting to bite in the electorate, although many younger voters are stridently in favour of it.

    The obvious compromise for Labor it to introduce a maximum annual cash payment that any individual taxpayer or SMSF can receive. Pick your number between $2000 and $15,000.

    This would have been a better compromise than the first climb down by Labor which was to fully exempt government pensioners, creating two distinct classes of taxpaying in the one policy area. If uncapped franking credit cash rebates are bad, then part pensioners with an $800,000 share portfolio shouldn’t get them either.

    There can’t be too many pensioners getting more than $10,000 a year so the cleanest solution would be to apply the same cap to everyone, government pensioners included.

    Tim Wilson, leader of the Liberal campaign against the Labor proposal, is right to point out that the $1.6 million transfer cap within the superannuation system, which commenced on July 1, 2017, has significantly reduced the cash largesse going to the wealthier cohort of franking credit recipients.

    Another overlooked fact is Australia’s heavier reliance on company tax and income tax than most countries, because our indirect tax revenue is relatively low courtesy of an underdone GST.

    The latest MYEFO forecasts that company tax will bring in a record $95.5 billion next financial whilst income tax paid by individuals is predicted to hit $230.5 billion in 2019-20 for a grand total of $326 billion out of almost $500 billion in Federal tax revenue. That puts a slight different context on the debate about $5.6 billion a year in cash refunds for those self-funded retirees paying no net income tax. Then again, you can understand the argument that it does seem a bit rough that income tax is generating such enormous sums but many largely elderly retired shareholders are not paying any income tax but then getting franking credit refunds.

    Then again, the total refunds currently paid out are barely one twentieth of the $95 billion the government is collecting in company tax.

    It is likely the proposed change won’t save anything like $5.6 billion a year net for the federal budget because many of the shares currently owned by non-taxpayers will simply be sold to taxpayers and many of the non-taxpayers will live off the proceeds from the sale of those shares and then go on the pension, so it will just change the type of cash payment they are getting from the government without actually saving the budget that much.”

    Why should a pensioner couple with $800,000 get refunds while an SFR with just $40,000 more in ASSESSABLE assets – but potentially much less in total if their home isn’t as valuable – loses their refunds for life? Anyone who suggests that is reasonable is selfish in the extreme and totally irrational.

    Why should rich retirees who don’t invest in shares get a huge tax-free income while battlers with very modest retirement savings who don’t understand financial markets well enough to earn income other than from blue chip shares are taxed at a very high rate? Anyone who considers that fair or reasonable has a cog missing in their brain.

    The RIGHT solution, of course, is to tax ALL RETIREMENT INCOME and pay a universal pension to ensure every retiree has an acceptable living standard. That removes all the discrimination and unfairness and adheres to the generally accepted convention that those with the highest incomes should contribute most, and those with low incomes – REGARDLESS how they earn them – should NOT be taxed into unfair hardship.

    Taxing retirement income also removes the need for retirees who don’t qualify for a pension, but may be aged or infirm, or educationally deprived, to suddenly become investment or financial wizards in order to survive old age.

    Labor has got it hideously wrong with this policy. It is patently UNFAIR, discriminatory, and won’t achieve the stated goal anyway. There are much better ways to boost the budget, and really – they are a no-brainer. High retirement incomes should NOT be tax free. By all means, set a threshold that ensures those with very low incomes neither shoulder the burden of paying tax nor the burden of completing tax returns. But refusing franking credit refunds to poor folk is NOT the right way to fix a problem. If there is rorting, address the rorting. Don’t bash the honest battlers who worked and paid tax all their lives and now just want fairness to live out their old age in modest comfort – at least at the same living standard as pensioners enjoy, and without eroding their capital prematurely – because many saved it with knowledge that it would be needed at a later date, and those who went without cruises and restaurant dinners to leave a little to their offspring should be as entitled to their lifestyle choice as those who lived the high life and put their hands out for pensions. It’s ALL taxpayer money. Why should some get it and others be denied, just because some chose to use their income in different ways?

    This pensioner elite attitude and the invalid and nasty assumptions that SFRs are all wealthy and can be ripped off MUST END. It’s unAustralian, and it’s a disgraceful indictment of what this society has become.

    Thank goodness Labor is feeling the pain. Slipping badly in the polls – as they should, until they revise this sick and disgusting policy. Some of their other policies leave the LNP firmly in the shade, but this policy SHOULD cost them the election if they stick to it. It’s blatantly wrong, and to arrogantly refuse to consider the negatives shows lack of leadership ability.

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      read your comments several time sot make sure I fully understood – there is nothing I can add – except to say you nailed it”! Well written articulate and accurate.

    • 0
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      BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! Well done OnlyGenuineRainey! Finally, a well thought out, well researched, well compiled, and well written article on this disgusting money grab by the Labor party, should they win the next election. The discrepancies, between some people who may receive a part pension and LARGE refunds due to franking credits from share ownership and those who receive NO TAX PAYER FUNDED PENSION and will now have their smaller franking credit refunds taking away from them because they support themselves, are mind boggling! I can only assume that this current front bench of the Labor party do not understand the full implications of this UNFAIR policy. I know that the incoming treasurer has never had a real job, never worked in the REAL world, and has known nothing but politics for his entire working life! I believe that several other members of the Labor front bench may also be in the same position.
      When you consider that without the return of the franking credits, some shares don’t return much better than bank interest (BHP 3.64%, Woodside 4.01%, RIO 4.39%, Brambles 3.26%) and you consider the risk to your invested capital, it will not be worth holding these shares and the money will be invested in something else that provides a better return. Therefore, the government will not raise anywhere near the amount that they think they will from this UNFAIR tax. I agree with OGR that a much smarter choice would be to put a ceiling on it and charge EVERYBODY over that ceiling instead of picking on a particular group of recipients!
      As stated above, I can only think that they don’t understand the implications of their own policy and so I will be sending this description to my local Labor federal member (with OGR’s ok) to help him understand this horrible policy. I suggest all of you who will be impacted by this policy do the same!

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      Absolutely 100% correct Rainey. But the intellectually challenged unfortunately will not read and try and understand.
      Or perhaps they just don’t want to know

    • 0
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      Absolutely 100% correct Rainey. But the intellectually challenged unfortunately will not read and try and understand.
      Or perhaps they just don’t want to know

    • 0
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      OGR, your quoted remarks do not indicate where the “common sense” came from? But, that is definitely common sense. It also includes a proposed Cap on Franking as an alternative, one idea I myself have mentioned a couple of times.

      Chris Richardson cannot avoid saying “Franking credits are being “rorted on an industrial scale”, however as usual, he talks in riddles, does not want to give solutions and is full of double-speak. For example, he says “Given the way they’re doing it, they’re fixing one fairness problem [which] is costing more money than it should. THEY’RE GENUINELY FIXING THAT,” – that suggests he is betting each way – in case Labor gets into power! He could have suggested the Caps on Franking credits as an alternative solution, but no, that would hurt him and his rich mates!

      I support the Universal Pension for OAPs as you know. However, instead of simply taxing all Retirement Income, there should be concessional caps for taxation on Superannuation income – as that is an Income Supplement the Govt has strongly encouraged and is a good saving scheme. It is a supplementary income source which must not be removed for the sake of keeping an incentive for all to save as a fallback for retirement.

      As far as Labor is concerned, Bowen did say “Don’t vote for us” – so all who disagree with his policy must do just that! Teach this arrogant little clown a lesson!
      Of course, I also believe the Liberals need to be taught a lesson for destroying Retirement Incomes of 100s of thousands by their changes to the Assets Test without Grandfathering and based on a Broken Promise.
      Hence, the only choice now for Retirees and Pre-Retirees is to throw both these a…hole parties out (as well as the Greens), by putting all their current MPs last in voting preferences.

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      And you would still end up with one of the 2 major parties GeorgeM, that is the way our voting system works.

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      Well written OGR and I agree with most everything you said.
      Perhaps the only things you left out is that younger voters and some in our cohort who are in a poor financial situation are of the opinion that anybody with 2 razoos to rub together should spend them first and then go on the pension. I suspect that is jealousy and of course it ignores the fact that when those people do go on the pension the burden on taxpayers will increase.
      I would think leaving those of us alone who went without for decades and worked bloody hard would be the fair and right thing to do….with a line in the sand after which the tax system would cut in. Apparently Labor thinks otherwise. As you said it could cost them the election at worst and put them into minority government at best.

      As I’ve said a number of times on this issue I suspect Labor will pull its head in and do something along the lines we have been suggesting OGR. If not then we’ll get another 4 years of unstable government, and as Kerry Stokes was quoted as saying when he and Murdoch met to decide who the new PM was going to be after they got rid of Turnbull “I may have to tolerate a few years of Shorten”….or something to that effect.

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      No one should collect money on taxes they never paid in the first place.

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      And no government should collect tax on the same income TWICE.

    • 0
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      Absolutely spot-on, Jackie and Mick.

      “The RIGHT solution, of course, is to tax ALL RETIREMENT INCOME and pay a universal pension to ensure every retiree has an acceptable living standard. That removes all the discrimination and unfairness and adheres to the generally accepted convention that those with the highest incomes should contribute most, and those with low incomes – REGARDLESS how they earn them – should NOT be taxed into unfair hardship.”

      That is the best way forward.

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      That would be fair Knows-a-lot but the top end of town and its media would come after any government which tried it on. It would take a tough PM and a successful policy early on in a term to achieve such an outcome. Once it was up and running and working then the vested interests would have nowhere to go. One can only live in hope.
      Out of interest sake New Zealand does have a universal pension system but our media never runs a story about that either.

  2. 0
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    I am a part pensioner as is my wife.
    We work for about 3 to 4 weeks a year doing VCE exam supervision.
    We also have a few Aussie shares that pay us franked dividends.Will we lose these dividends worth about $2500 because we do a little work???

    • 0
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      A simple exercise of the basic tax rules should determine how much or how little you ‘lose’.

      Hard to get some to look at the simple workings of actual income tax without their running around like headless chooks, ranting and attacking others. Loathie? That’s your cue….. Enter Stage Right…

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      Trebor doesn’t see that , in your case , Young, WHY SHOULD YOU LOSE ONE CENT, FULL STOP. THAT’S THE DILEMMA.
      We have a problem with incomes we have a problem with retirees, some work a little , in fairness there are too many rules and regulation that confuse and the population in general will have some kind of problem understanding this crazy difficult set up with super and AOP.

      Many pensioners cannot work a day here or there, many also find that the AOP makes life more difficult because of the standards of AOP under payments, or poverty, in some cases are being regulated by a horrifying system. PEOPLE WORK ALL THEIR LIVES AND WIND UP ON HARD TIMES, WHEN THEY SHOULD BE LIVING EASY, that is what govt policy is meant to do for its people. Make it easy!!!
      As for the comment about younger voters , younger voters need to remember ???
      I was a younger voter once, so they will be older voter one day.
      Perhaps it is the duty of a governmnet to confuse the majority of its people, hah. Of course on this forum we have quite a few experts , but the simple answer is the system is grossly unfair!

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      Yes I know OAP sorry!

    • 0
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      No as you are part pensioners you won’t lose the $2,500. Pensioners and part pensioners were told this a while ago.

    • 0
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      Any OAP who receives a part or full pension is exempt from the changes .

    • 0
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      I see that clearly, john – for those who do their taxes properly and who are properly treated by the ATO under income tax rules…

      What part of:- “cancel franked dividends entirely, sort out your own tax by income tax rules, and those who genuinely fall below a certain income level as laid down will be treated the same, and tax paid as company taxes is NOT tax paid by shareholders”…. is so difficult to understand?

      DI IS part of shareholder’s gross income – so what is the difference between a company paying tax on your behalf and you then sorting it out, and the company not paying it at all and you sorting it out?

      It’s not hard.

    • 0
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      My argument, Spud and Paddington, is that genuine low income retirees who just miss pension are not covered.

      Mind you a cou78ple would need to be getting, well here’;s the Centrelink chart…

      21 or older, single t$2,004.60
      21 or older, couple living together t$3,066.80 combined
      21 or older, couple living apart due to ill health t$3,969.20 combined
      18–20, single, no children, at home t$1056.80
      16-17, single, no children, at home t$954.20
      16-20, single, no children, independent t$1,372.60
      18-20, couple, no children t$2,692.80 combined
      under 18, couple, no children t$2,692.80 combined.

      so I suppose the argument could be made that a couple already on $1500 a week is doing all right and has no need for pension.. however tax needs to be looked at. I’ll look at one:-

      “21 or older, couple living together t$3,066.80 combined
      = $79,736.80 p.a.

      Split it for tax = $39,868.40 per person.

      ATO Chart:-

      “Taxable income
      Tax on this income

      0 – $18,200 – Nil
      $18,201 – $37,000 – 19c for each $1 over $18,200
      $37,001 – $90,000 – $3,572 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $37,000
      $90,001 – $180,000 – $20,797 plus 37c for each $1 over $90,000
      $180,001 and over – $54,097 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000″

      Ergo, Tax on $39,868.40 =

      $18,200 no tax = balance of $39,868.40 – $18,000 = $21,868.40

      Tax on $21,868.40 = $18,799 x 0.19 (cents in the dollar)
      = $3571.81 TOTAL TAX LIABILITY.

      If your entire $39,868.40 was in franked dividends, the ATO has received already 30% (or the calculated percentage which varies) = $11,960.52

      So your return from DFI should be $11,960.52 – $3571.81 = $8388.72.

      Of course this will vary according to your income mix, and under no cicrumstances should the ATO suddenly refuse a return of tax paid for genuine income earners.

      Now let’s hear all the spurious and mostly personal comments…. **rolls eyes**

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      If you become ineligible for the pension at any time you will lose your franking credits. Estimates have put that figure at 50,000 pensioners are likely to lose their franking credits.

    • 0
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      Yes, OG, and that needs to be considered, since market fluctuations may occur and be temporary – and then the person has to reclaim pension etc and start off again. Bit rough to be so close to the edge on pension and lose it for a few dollars when most years the income is lower.

      FTR – is pension ‘lost’ or ‘suspended’ in such a situation? For a working pensioner it is suspended after two years of earning more than the allowed amount…. or it was anyway….

      All the things that need to be set in place to cover eventualities like that are not hard – all it takes is people in the PS who can do the flaking job…

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      And if you were just $1 over the assets threshold in March 2018, you lose your franking credits FOR LIFE

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      But someone with $1 less, and possibly a house worth 3 times as much – so much, much wealthier in reality, gets to keep their cash credits as well as getting all the pensioner concessions. And this is what Short-on-Brains calls ‘a fairer tax system’!!!!!

  3. 0
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    So we are giving cash up retirees tax relief from tax they don’t pay !!!! What a scam and hopefully it will be dead buried and cremated sometime this year..

    • 0
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      I agree TOR888, this has been going on for so long they think it’s a right to get this money. Why have there been so many SMSF starting up over the last 20 years? To take advantage of this rort that Peter Costello (the so called ‘best treasurer ever’) put in place. Put in place to ensure his rich mates could be rewarded for them being in government. Let the voters decide whether this is fair.

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      It’s the usual envy politics pushed by some in the community, and they are not all Labor or LNP voters, the statement that people are getting back tax they haven’t paid is wrong, if you get a dividend that has a franked component that franked component is the tax that is withheld from the investor to be paid to the tax office, so it is tax paid whichever way you look at it, if your income which includes your pension and any other earnings from shares or any other source is below the tax free threshold then you are entitled to claim that tax back, it’s exactly the same for every person that earns an income, you could equally claim that PAYG doesn’t pay tax even though their employee withholds tax to send to the tax office, it’s exactly the same as the withheld tax on shares, and at the end of the year if the PAYG’s income is below the tax free threshold then he gets back all of the tax that has been withheld, how can this be described as unfair, infact it would be quite the opposite, if one section of the community was treated differently to another just because they are retired.

    • 0
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      Exactly what I’ve been saying for ages now, Jim – simple.

      the problem being approached (not addressed) by Labrador with this move is that of how incomes can be arranged to avoid tax – and government respective have built thier own mine field with their superannuation rules and changes.

      In a sense you can’t blame people for taking advantage of loop-holes and hidey holes for money so as to not pay tax – on the other hand you need to seriously wonder what the hell government advisors are working with to come up with such flawed premises, and whether or not it is government itself ordering that things be done in such flawed ways, for the benefit of its members and mates.

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      You are so wrong TOR 888.. I am a part owner of a number of companies. Those companies make profits and pay tax on those profits. They pay part of those profits to me with the tax taken out… so I have paid tax through my company ownership and the profits received which have had tax prepaid. You are copying Shorten’s words… he clearly has no financial understanding or credibility.

      Also Labor says they will use the money to balance the budget !!???? But the Prime Minister has guaranteed that the next budget in April will be in surplus so there is no need to balance the budget because it already has been !!!!!!!!.

      Labor hasn’t changed… they did this last time in power.. it tells you that a big spending spree is on the cards and they have to increase taxes to cover what was a balanced budget… lack of financial control.

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      Now TREBOR surely they wouldn’t use privatisation to award contracts to mates in exchange for say free travel would they?

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      If it’s wrong then it’s wrong and pensioners shouldn’t be excluded from the fix. Back peddling on that made me realise this was just vote catching and not really designed to sort out discrepancies.

      Companies should not be paying tax on the behalf of shareholders. That is a simple fix Just pay the shares unfranked and let shareholders pay up if they have to.

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      dick, dick – your company ownership and your personal income are two separate things… you don’t get to bite twice on the cherry – a company has taxes to pay and so does the individual.

      How many times, O lord?

      Of COURSE not, Rae…. that would be the furthest thing from their minds…

      Even a hint of impropriety should mean instant cancellation of contract…..

    • 0
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      Yes Labor is going to give back $34 billion in franking credits to high income earners and steal $5 billion from low income earners.

      If you have franking credits you have paid tax. There is no other way you can get franking credits.

    • 0
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      Tor888 – NO NO NO. You have it all wrong. Franking credit refunds give retirees relief from paying tax THEY DON’T OWE. The tax is taken from the dividend before they receive it. If they have no legal tax liability, they should get it back. Simple and fair. The system is right as it is.

      OG is right. You simply CANNOT get franking credits if you haven’t paid tax.

  4. 0
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    Yes Shitten and Bowels disgusting attack on modest SFR’s has changed my vote
    I will never again vote labor

    • 0
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      Your jokes are getting better all the time……….. don’t give up your day job, though, and we’ll call you… next….

    • 0
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      Have you changed your handle Lothario?

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      My problem with the ALP , as I am in your boat FLV, is the fact that I operated as an official rep in a union for around 25 years. Basically I have found it corrupt and the rank and file are forgotten there are some criminals working inside the union, every one nearly is in the know! And it is now run like a wealthy business to receive donations from even some super funds and actually pass on lots to the ALP, THE ALP IS NOT THE WORKING PERSONS PARTY NOW , IT HAS LOST ITS WAY, AND ITS TERRIBLE BACKSIDE FOLLOWING WITH GREENS AND INDEPENDENTS LAST WEEK WAS A SHOT AT OUR SYSTEM, NOT A SHOT AT MORRISON AT ALL.

      They were a party to a stunt , and Shorten wants to be PM. What a tragedy he just might?

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      john yes indeed but you should see what those business types in the Business Unions like the BCA, Mineral Council, IPA, AMA are getting up to. They make the Union take look like peanuts.

      The whole Government need reforming. No bribes a Federal ICAC and truly Independent representation in Parliament.

      The Party system ned reforming. It’s far too corrupt.

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      Yes he must hane an idendity problem, maybe multiple personalities, as I said before here, who knows who he will think he is next.

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      Yes John what have you got to say to Rae’s comment about the other unions mentioned, are you including them also?. During my working life as a School Assistant and a DC Nursing Sister I had many occasions to call on the relevant unions for support, I was retrnched from one school once but becaused of union support was reinstated also we would never have got our working conditions or pay increases if it wered not for the unions. I know there are bad apples in all organisations, just look at all the findings of the various RC, but you can’t tar them all with the same brush.

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      Lothario, you never did lol. Changeof name?

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      I know your position myself, john – but my issue with Unions was not that they are/were corrupt – but that they focused on the wrong things – starting back when they ‘encouraged applications from women, those from a non-English speaking background, and Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders’… funny that. Look at the ACTU now and what it pursues.

      As a Union delegate targeted by management, I was left out to dry while the Union sat on its arse and let things go downhill all the way – and then was given two seconds when I applied for a formal Organiser job.

      They are corrupt all right – just not in the ways people seem to imagine.

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      Oh, I dunno – diablo/Lothario,Former Labor Voter seems to have a pretty good grip on it most of the time… with occasional forays into reality…. (dah, da, da,da,da,da,da dah.**hums to self**) …

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      Whilst we need unions TREBOR my memory of them is they sold out workers when enterprise bargaining was brought in. So many workers left. That left unions in a weakened state, which is precisely what the top end of town wanted. The rest is history and we now have 2 hour a week jobs counted as ‘work’ in the official statistics, poorly paid millennials who are being done over and a workforce at the mercy of big business which seeks to destitute them. Been watching this unfold for many years. Sad.

      Unions: damned if you do and damned if you don’t. What do you do? Trust employers?

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    This labour policy has nothing to do with fairness – it simply a part of the politics of envy and naked push by ex union boss Shorten and his thug mates to shove SMSF monies into industrial funds.
    And, rentseeking economists like Chris Richardson rabbiting on pretending to be unbiased are simply masking Shorten’s extreme left attack on retirees – of which the theft of franking credits is only the start.
    Those approaching retirement should also be very concerned.

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      All easily solved with the proper application of tax on income – storm in a teacup…

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      Did you also note Richardson was light on with his alternative plans. I wonder whether Bowen has made a tactical blunder here – as Richo says barely 20% of over 65s vote labor so Bowen made have thought – need some extra money here is an option that won’t cost many votes and its a potential big tax grab – go for it – however it is not just the 840,000 affected – its their families and grandkids pushing the numbers closer to 2.3m. Also labor have been getting bad feedback from retired teachers who stated they are labor votes. This is not playing out well.
      The border security policy has also not gone well for labor – heard that their internal polling suggests labor is not doing well north of Brisbane nor Darwin or WA and importantly western suburbs of Sydney.
      Labor is doing exceptionally well in Vic but it may not be enough. Interesting times ahead.

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      I heard that from the Gillard years but if Labor thinks it is only going to lose a few votes it may get a big surprise. I note many on THIS website alone claimed they wanted to vote Labor….until Shorten sprung the franking credits attack on them.
      I still hope Labor gets up if for no other reason than to put the current dictatorship in forming out of business. My real wish is to see a majority of Independents in the parliament working for the country rather than the coal industry or any other vested interest paying into party coffers for the next election. That to my mind has always been betrayal of the worst kind and should result in jail sentences for those who promote this sort of sell out of the national interest.
      Just my thoughts though.

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    To “OnlyGenuineRainey” finally someone on this website expressing a comment on this subject with some intelligence, compassion and knowledge of the subject.

    I am getting sick to death of reading comments on this website that are biased, unresearched and just plain incorrect. Most commentators obviously do not understand the way the franking credit system works or what it is intended to achieve. Talk of it being a rort etc are just plain wrong.

    It should be blindly obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense that it blatantly unfair to tax a section of the community differently to any other. We have a SMSF and receive no government benefits or discounts. However this Labor proposal would not be an issue for us if only we received a very small amount of part pension. And yes “Young” you will continue to receive your franking credits because, although you are still working, you say you also receive a part pension so your franking credits are safe. That is the essence of why this policy is so unfair.

    Bill Shorter continually preaches his policies provide fairness to all Australia. He eve used the terms fair and fairness 12 times within his 2 minute interview on the ABC’s Insiders program the other week.

    I even wrote to our local Labor member 2 weeks ago asking her how this policy could be regarded as fair. To date no reply. I guess because there is no reasonable answer.

    Electors please leave your Labor/Liberal bias to one side and just look at the facts of this matter in a fair and logical way.

    To “Tor888” this is exactly what I refer to – uneducated comments on a subject you obviously don’t understand. The company in which I hold shares has paid tax on the profits. They then pass on to me a dividend plus a franking credit amount that I have to declare in my tax return. My taxable income is then calculated on both the dividend and franking credit amount. Just like PAYG taxpayer puts in his tax return his total salary which includes the amount of tax his employer has deducted. If it is then calculated that he has paid too much tax, he gets a refund. However under this policy, I do not get a refund of the tax paid on my behalf, BUT WHICH IS INCLUDED IN MY TAX RETURN AS PART OF MY INCOME, even though I am not obliged to pay any tax.

    Again I plead, do some research of this matter, not just express bias and hurtful comment.

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      “However under this policy, I do not get a refund of the tax paid on my behalf, BUT WHICH IS INCLUDED IN MY TAX RETURN AS PART OF MY INCOME, even though I am not obliged to pay any tax. “

      That is the problem – I’ve been saying for ages now – and copping personal attacks for doing so – that DI is part of your gross income for tax consideration, and any return etc should be entirely based on that.

      I’ve even posted quotes from the ATO that clearly say that a partial or full refund may be applicable – depending on income etc, and I’ve clearly stated that a blanket policy of no returns at all is wrong.

      Come in Loathie (now Former Labor Voter) – give us your fake on this one…. we all know you’ll want to rant and try to obscure the simple issue by attacking the poster, as usual.

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    Easy – frank no credits – company pay its taxes, individuals pay theirs… no problem.

    Frankly speaking that is the only solution, along with a complete overhaul of the current superannuation system, and the ATO.

    Obviously if someone on a genuine small income is not receiving at least a part return of tax paid in advance, something is rotten in the handling by the ATO.

    I believe this whole issue has been made confused so as to allow constant loop-holes and getaway cards… take it back to the basic and the problems all disappear.

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      And how will the dividends received be treated Trebor?
      As tax free income or be taxed again in the hands of the investor ???

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      Company dividends are not income taxed on the company – companies pay their taxes and dividends are a deduction – the income a shareholder derives from them properly constitutes part of their gross income.

      Currently the tax pre-paid by the company is included in shareholder’s gross income, as required, and tax determined on net income derived from gross minus deductions, so there is really no need to frank dividends at all.

      When are you going to stop avoiding that simple reality?

      Read Denis and Narelle above.. pretty simple, eh?

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      I honestly could not understand your gobbledegook
      You lost me on “companies pay their taxes and dividends are a deduction”

      Please do yourself a favor and enrol in a Uni Corporate Tax 101 course
      If youre ineligible due to poor qualifications, such as dropping out of school at grade 3 , try alternate pathways such as TAFE or mature special case disability admission

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      Obviously you have no real understanding of dividend imputation in reality or of many other things… any ‘gobble-de-gook’ is in your mind with its inability to follow simple things… perhaps on purpose?

      You remind me of a ‘professional student’ in the room when I was doing Economics at UNSW, who sought to constantly confuse the simple issues being taught.

      Your post shows clearly that either you do not understand what you are talking about, or that the rules need to be changed to suit reality.

      The ATO clearly states deductions.

      Let’s make it simple for you:-

      A company is a separate legal entity set up to earn income.
      The company pays company taxes on its net income.

      Shareholders are separate legal entities who buy shares to earn income. They are not ‘company owners’, they are investors, and thus do not pay the company taxes. The company does.
      Shareholders pay income tax on the income derived from their shares, after deductions.

      Franking dividends is only the company paying income tax in advance for the shareholder, it is not part of company taxes. It is a deduction for the company, not tax paid by the company, and effectively reduces company tax.

      Shareholders who receive franked dividends are obliged to include that amount in their gross income for tax reckoning.

      Since company taxes have no relationship to shareholder’s income tax, there is no double taxation.

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      “Franking dividends is only the company paying income tax in advance for the shareholder, it is not part of company taxes. It is a deduction for the company, not tax paid by the company, and effectively reduces company tax.”

      wtf ?????

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      “Franking dividends is only the company paying income tax in advance for the shareholder,”

      Trebor you are confused. You say it yourself, the company has paid tax on behalf of the shareholder. So the shareholder has no tax liability on the dividend they receive. The shareholder declares the dividend as income AND the franking credits are offset against any other tax liability the shareholder has (just like they offset any income tax deducted by their employer from wages or salary). If the total tax paid (by the employer or company or even the taxpayer in advance) is more than the tax due they get a refund. In some cases they get a refund because they don’t have enough in the income column to be taxed in the first place. When the taxpayer is no longer earning an income at all, or their income is below the taxable threshold, they get a return of the tax paid on their behalf – whether by an employer, themselves or the company whose shares they hold i.e. the franking credits.

      Mr Shorten is not making this situation ‘fairer’ at all. People who have a taxable income including from share dividends will not be affected by his policy. They will still get their franking credits to offset tax. he came late to the party to ‘grandfather people on pensions so it won’t affect then either. Its people on far lower incomes – perhaps just a dollar more than the part pension threshold who will lose here and in the main that is people who put their superannuation in a self managed fund. Losing the ability to offset franking credits and obtaining the current refund of tax paid on their behalf will render them worse off not only then now, but conceivably worse off than a pensioner.

      How is that fair?

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      Trebor, you went to uni and studied economics? Did you pass? Have you ever studied a company balance sheet? You state “Company dividends are not income taxed on the company – companies pay their taxes and dividends are a deduction.” can you point out to me on a balance sheet where dividends are listed as a deduction? Dividends are a distribution of profits after all tax liabilities have been met! I’ve looked through several annual reports and nowhere can I see shareholders dividends listed as an “Operating Expense”.
      “the income a shareholder derives from them properly constitutes part of their gross income” (“their” being the company). Sorry. Not correct. Dividends are paid out of NET income after tax and expenses.

      “so there is really no need to frank dividends at all”. Well, yes there is, because then I get a credit for the tax already paid by the company on my behalf and can claim that against my other tax liabilities and, if I have none, I get it refunded!
      “Obviously you have no real understanding of dividend imputation”. And you do? not by what you have written on this page, you don’t! I agree with FLV, what you write is Gobbledegook with a capital G!
      “The company pays company taxes on its net income”. Wrong again! A company pays taxes on its Net income AFTER deduction of Operating Expenses and Impairment Charges!
      ” They are not ‘company owners’. Another incorrect statement. Here is a quote taken from the Investopedia web site.

      Shareholder
      Reviewed by Will Kenton
      Updated Dec 14, 2018
      What is a Shareholder?

      A shareholder, commonly referred to as a stockholder, is any person, company, or institution that owns at least one share of a company’s stock. Because shareholders are a company’s owners, they reap the benefits of the company’s successes in the form of increased stock valuation. If the company does poorly and the price of its stock declines, however, shareholders can lose money.
      Do you notice the part that says “Because shareholders are a company’s owners”? That is exactly what they are! When you look at a company Balance Sheet it talks about Shareholder’s Equity and this equates to almost the full worth of the company apart from a small part attributed to Non-controlling Interests. Shareholders OWN the company!

      “Franking dividends is only the company paying income tax in advance for the shareholder, it is not part of company taxes. It is a deduction for the company, not tax paid by the company, and effectively reduces company tax”. More incorrect statements.

      “What are Franking Credits?

      Franking Credits also known as Imputation Credits are a type of tax credit that allows Australian Companies to pass on tax paid at the company level to shareholders.” Can you see the part that says “to pass on tax paid at the company level”? Do I need to go on? You clearly have NO IDEA what you are talking about and I can’t believe that you studied economics? It just boggles the brain. I suggest you read the information contained on this web site. It might help you understand!

      http://frankingcredits.com.au/

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      All you’ll get guys is more gobbledegook from Trebore

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      Not at all – company taxes are not taxation paid by the company on behalf of a shareholder.. the two are totally separate.

      Company tax is company tax – tax withheld on behalf of shareholders is another matter entirely, and only impacts on company taxes as a deduction, by reducing company tax liability.

      It is therefore meet that the shareholder pay tax owed, rather than this becoming a double deduction.

      Everything you say clearly shows the need to settle this pack of lies once and for all that are being abused, especially the dire confusion that somehow company taxes paid are shareholder’s taxes paid when they are nothing of the kind. No wonder the Libs went out of their way to so confuse this simple issue for the benefit of their mates.

      As for gobbledy-gook, Loathario – it’s all in your head…. you just choose not to see simple realities. Your stupid and insulting remarks will one day lead to your being banned from here.

      Get a grip on yourself, man – people are watching…

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      I am a shareholder in a family owned , oops sorry run company
      According to Trebore , I and my family don’t own the company , some other entity does , only Trebore knows

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      **rolls eyes** company ownership is separate from the individual taxpayer…. now don’t try to twist my words…. both are separate legal entities, capisce?

      You’re the one wanting to claim that because it is a SEPARATE LEGAL ENTITY family owned company, you as an individual income recipient from it should not be paying taxes and neither should the company…

      If that is the case, you are a thief, sir!!

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      To end the argument TREBOR and others I suggest companies will change how they pay shareholders in future. If they decide to pay out higher dividends to shareholders and pay less tax themselves then poor earning shareholders will effectively end up with the same outcome as using franking credits. Of course high earning shareholders would be liable to pay tax on the higher dividends. Is that not a win/win???????
      Maybe it’ll play out like that. If so Shorten will save face assuming he gets in after shooting the party in both feet.

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      TREBOR, you keep going on about “Company tax is company tax – tax withheld on behalf of shareholders is another matter entirely, and only impacts on company taxes as a deduction, by reducing company tax liability”. If you’re so clever and EVERYBODY ELSE is wrong, kindly point out to me where “tax withheld on behalf of shareholders” appears on a company balance sheet or income statement? If what you say is true (and it’s not!) it would appear under operating expenses but it’s not there on any of the balance sheets that I’ve ever looked at!
      Please, share with us the benefit of your great wisdom and point out to us where “tax withheld on behalf of shareholders” appears on a company balance sheet and income statement? I await the benefit of your great knowledge with anticipation!

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      **rolls eyes** what part of ‘Economics and Accounting go hand in hand at UNSW as part of the same course” do you not understand.

      Doin’t play the label game with me GV – I’ve told you before – a company MAY take a deduction for franked component of dividends – if so it will appear on their paperwork… how they label it is irrelevant. It is still a deduction for paying the franking component of dividends, and is not part of Company Tax.

      That’s why it’s called Company Tax, Don-kay – because it’s Company Tax! And its only relationship with franked component of dividends is that is can be a deduction to reduce company liability to Company Tax.

      Once again – the whole argument can be resolved by abolishing dividend franking entirely and leaving everyone, including companies, to work out their now simplified tax with the ATO.

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      ..I can just imagine all those lovely little Asian chicks employed under affirmative action, the occasional Pislander or Muhamed Al-Akbar struggling to deal with a “oh, we paid franked dividends, but wish to only claim part of it as a tax deduction for the company, and the rest we leave to the shareholder, who may or may not pay any tax as a result…”

      Dear old Grey Viper – just look on the franked component as being tax withheld from your earnings to be included as part of your gross income along with your dividend, and it is so much more easy to get your mind around.

      Better still – join the rush to abolish franked dividends.

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      And Thebore resorts to racism as a last resort to justify his stupidity
      Just when you think he cannot sink any lower …

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      Come on guys. Lets not start behaving like prize jerk Lothario. We can do better than that.

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      Commenting on reality is now ‘racism’? Nowhere near as bad as a total hypocrite who blasts pensions and other social security recipients and then skites about how he gets freebies and doesn’t pay any tax.

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    ““We can no longer be the only country in the world that provides tax refunds to shareholders who have not paid the income tax to start with. If you pay tax, we will refund it, but if you don’t pay tax there is nothing to refund.”

    What is wrong with this statement is that it is tax paid on behalf of the shareholder and should be treated the same as PAYE tax for reckoning. A blanket approach such as that does not work, since in effect, the shareholder HAS paid tax via the company paying it in advance, same as PAYE.

    Either these people, on both ‘sides’ of this essentially non-question, do not understand simple things, or they deliberately ignore realities.

    As for super – I believe we’ve found the answer here already for them…..

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      I don’t think you understand the imputation system either
      If you overhaul the imputation system, then you need to do the same with all other aspects of company and personal tax
      Reduce company tax rate to 20% for a start and certain threshold for dividends should attracted favorable tax treatment

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      I don’t think you understand the imputation system either
      If you overhaul the imputation system, then you need to do the same with all other aspects of company and personal tax
      Reduce company tax rate to 20% for a start and certain threshold for dividends should attracted favorable tax treatment

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      Company tax is fine at 30% – their option is to pay income tax…. which would be far higher.

      There is zero benefit to be earned from reducing company tax, since that is only paid on net income anyway. Some fear-mongers and propagandists seek to infer that companies are taxed on their gross profit – when no such thing occurs.

      If they were treated the same as any other income earner, many of their deductions would not exist, so they already have a preferential run, and capping company tax at 30% is a luxury deal given their net profit. Certainly a far better deal than Joe and Jo Toiler get… and Joe and Jo do’;t get the deductions, either.

      Maybe companies need to get their own houses in order and stop whining.

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      I don’t think anyone who clearly doesn’t understand the franking credit issues are ever going to change their minds, so the reason for making it an issue has worked, ie envy politics, equally those who do understand how the system works are never going to change anyone’s mind on the fairness or unfairness, the debate has been going on for too long and to date I haven’t seen many contributors change their minds, but one suggestion in particular I believe has a lot of merit, companies pay the full dividend and let shareholders look after their own tax liabilities, this isn’t going to put any more money into the system, because anyone who is not liable for tax won’t pay any tax, in fact they will have the extra money from their dividends earlier because they won’t have to wait until the end of the tax year to get the tax back that they shouldn’t have paid in the first place, the loser will be the government because they won’t have the use of any tax that has been paid. I have relo’s in the UK who own shares, they don’t receive franking credits as far as I am aware, they do have a system that is described as taxed at source, not really sure what that means, what they do have is their first £6000 from investments is tax free, then everything after that is taxed, that’s my understanding with limited knowledge of their system.

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      Yes Jim, countries that have dome away or amended their imputation system have also made other changes to compensate, like Singapore, the US UK and many in Europe

      Also don’t forget they have universal pension

      When their imputation systems were amended, new tax free thresholds or tax concessions for dividend income were simultaneously introduced.
      Corporate tax rates were also cut enabling companies to pay higher dividends

      Idiots who support labor’s policy haven’t a clue what they are supporting. Lemmings

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      Ah – so now you’re a champion of universal pension under strict rules on other income taxation, Loathie?

      Are you consistent with anything?

      “new tax free thresholds or tax concessions for dividend income were simultaneously introduced.”

      Ah – I see – the first to scream ‘unfair and unequal treatment’ when told your freebies will be gone, but now you say that somehow dividend recipients should have personally acceptable tax thresholds etc enjoyed by nobody else? One rule for the scum worker and another for the heroic shareholder? Different tax rules for income earned?

      Every little thing you utter clearly supports the need for massive tax change here….

      As a side-note – do you actually understand what you are putting out here?

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      I understand full well how you and your kind have distorted the imputation system for personal greed, Loathie….

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      I don’t think you understand anything apart from your pissy little backyard family company and its strange structure of a few family ‘shareholders’ – Loathie…. obviously you have no idea about any REAL company that has hundreds and perhaps thousands of shareholder….. and as for taxes – the ATO wouldn’t waste the time on your family’s PLBYFC. Not enough money to be gained…. but a talented ATO employee could design a system to bring you to heel, if ever permitted to do so.

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      A ‘company’ can be formed with one major shareholder and one minor one – the latter holding one share – and thus permitted to call self ‘company director’.

      How many ‘shareholders’ does your PLBYFC have, Loathie? I’ll go for NONE…… so in discussion of shareholders generally you don’t count…..

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    The massive current and future welfare bill has to be paid from somewhere. Either borrow more money or take it from people who have worked ,scrimped and saved all of their lives to either be financially independent or minimise the burden on the system.

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      “The massive current and future welfare bill has to be paid from somewhere.”

      Make that :- The current government running bill has to be paid for from somewhere.

      Why are you cherry-picking social security? Do you somehow imagine that Social Security is the only cost on government? Apart from that, Social security has been funded from an income tax component and other levies as required for many decades now…longer than most people living…. and is thus essentially self-funding.

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      There was a particular tone of sarcasm in my comment. That said, from memory, about 35% of government spending is directed to welfare. While the opposition primes itself for victory, the people smugglers are taking bookings. See the connection? More gimmigrants, more welfare….more debt.

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      Another deluded person who believes the Coalition spin on Border Control, what rubbish, what do you think we pay our Border Patrol to do?, sit back and watch the boats sail in REALLY, and you believe this rubbish.

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      Who is deluded??

      This has nothing to do with border patrols. Obviously the facts get in the way of your agenda.

      Where does the money for welfare come from?? Taxpayers.

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      Ah – I see Julian – my apologies for not noting your sarcasm… we have too many here who actually believe what you said.. as if it’s real.

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      Most illegal immigrants arrive by plane….. FACT.

      Boats are a tiny minority.

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    ““We can no longer be the only country in the world that provides tax refunds to shareholders who have not paid the income tax to start with. If you pay tax, we will refund it, but if you don’t pay tax there is nothing to refund.””

    This disgusting rhetoric from the person who was immigration Minister in 2010 when bodies were washing up on the shores of Christmas Island.

    Well who the hell paid the tax?

    The company you say?

    Well who the hell owns the company?

    Awe gee, it must be the shareholder.

    What lies will Bowen and Shorten tell to justify their ideological nonsense.?

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      The sycophant will say whatever to please his puppet masters – the union thugs
      He has a permanent spot under the table at the union leadership meetings

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      The sycophant will say whatever to please his puppet masters – the union thugs
      He has a permanent spot under the table at the union leadership meetings

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      Let’s make it simple for you:-

      A company is a separate legal entity set up to earn income.
      The company pays company taxes on its net income.

      Shareholders are separate legal entities who buy shares to earn income. They are not ‘company owners’, they are investors, and thus do not pay the company taxes. The company does.
      Shareholders pay income tax on the income derived from their shares, after deductions.

      Franking dividends is only the company paying income tax in advance for the shareholder, it is not part of company taxes. It is a deduction for the company, not tax paid by the company, and effectively reduces company tax.

      Shareholders who receive franked dividends are obliged to include that amount in their gross income for tax reckoning.

      Since company taxes have no relationship to shareholder’s income tax, there is no double taxation.

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      Agree Trebor it’s not double tax, but it could be described as double dipping if the tax withheld as franking credits is not allowed to be claimed by the investor, whichever way you look at it the investor is being charged usually 30% on their return of investment if there is a franked credit then the franked dividend and the dividend have to be declared as income, even though you haven’t received the franked dividend, I think your suggestion of not paying a franked dividend has a lot of merit, the investor would then be liable for their own tax liability at the end of the tax year, the winner is the investor, they will get their increased income twice a year, the loser is the government they won’t have the use of the withheld tax, if it has been paid that is! Doesn’t seem like a sensible move on the economy.

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      HA HA HA!!! TREBOR and Jim, you guys crack me up.
      Love to have a beer with you two and listen to you both talk about franking credits. He He He. What a hoot that would be. 🙂
      Where do you get all this information?
      I underestimated Shorten’s and Bowen’s depth of knowledge of the Labor voting base.

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      HA HA HA!!! TREBOR and Jim, you guys crack me up.
      Love to have a beer with you two and listen to you both talk about franking credits. He He He. What a hoot that would be. 🙂
      Where do you get all this information?
      I underestimated Shorten’s and Bowen’s depth of knowledge of the Labor voting base.

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      I would have thought my comments mostly backed your point of view, Adrianus, I know Shorten well and have had dealings with him when I was a member of the AMWU, the man is a traitor to the union movement and will be the same as the head of our country, I think Shorten’s popularity speaks for its self, I don’t think his preferred Prime Minister status has come close to anyone from the LNP so I think most voters Labor or LNP know he’s a dud, but largely the Libs have destroyed themselves, we will just have to hope that not too much damage has been done by the time the country and Labor realise what a mistake we have all made, we can live in hope.

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      Yes, Jim – that would be most unfair – which is why I posted my thing about a couple just outside receiving a pension, and under certain circumstances, entitled to part or full refund of DI, depending, of course, on their income mix.

      If they only have, for instance $1000 income from shares franked – they would actually owe tax if their income is from other ‘investments’ such as poprerty … depends on how their income is derived.

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      From the tax department, Adrianus.. from the Tax Department…. read what they have to say about franked dividends.

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      There is no tax department. It stopped being a department over 50 years ago.

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      There is no tax department. It stopped being a department over 50 years ago.

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      ATO then – no off you go…… get to the point….

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      Adrianus: you forgot to use the ‘school halls and pink batts’ line. Silly you. LNP stooge!

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