Better targeting of the employment termination payment tax offset

Budget Review 2012–13 Index

Les Nielson

What is the employment termination payment (ETP) tax offset?

Employment Termination Payments or ETPs are payments made upon the termination of a person’s employment. They are not superannuation payments and cannot be rolled over into a superannuation fund. Generally they have two components:

  • a tax free amount, which is not affected by the current measure, and
  • a taxed amount.

The taxed amount is added to a person’s assessable income. A tax offset is available to ensure that the tax actually paid on this second component is no more than:

  • 15 per cent (excluding Medicare levy) on the first $165 000 (in 2011–12, indexed), with the remainder taxed at marginal rates if the recipient is above his or her preservation age (55 to 60 depending on date of birth) or within one year of reaching this mark, or
  • 30 per cent (excluding Medicare levy) on the first $165 000 (in 2011–12, indexed), with the remainder taxed at marginal rates, if the recipient is under his or her preservation age.

What is the proposed change?

Where the ETP received is not related to genuine hardship (i.e. genuine redundancy, invalidity compensation or death) the ETP offset will only apply to that part of this payment that takes the total income of the recipient to $180 000 (which is the income threshold where the top marginal rate commences to apply).

For example two people receive ETPs, neither of which relates to genuine hardship. Both are over their respective preservation ages; Jack receives an ETP on 30 June 2013 of $60 000. His annual income is $90 000 p.a.

At the same time Jill also receives an ETP of $60 000. Her annual income for that year was $170 000 p.a.

If this proposal did not go ahead Jack and Jill would respectively receive an offset of $13 200 and $17,200, so both would effectively pay income tax of $9 000 on their ETP (excluding Medicare levy).

Under this proposal Jill receives an offset of $2 200 relating to the $10 000 of her ETP that takes her to the $180 000 whole of income cap.  Jack continues to receive the full $13 200 in offset as he is below the whole of income cap.  Jack is no worse off, while Jill receives $15 000 less in taxpayer concessions for her payment.

Over the forward estimates period this proposal is expected to generate a total of $196.4m in net savings.[1]

As at the date of writing press reaction to this particular measure highlighted:

  • concerns that the proposed measure could be an additional cost on the redundancy payments made to the mining workforce,[2] and
  • a suggestion that some higher paid employees could bring forward their retirement date.[3]

 


[1].       Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2012–13, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2012, p. 33, viewed 11 May 2012.

[2].       D Kitney, ‘Extra slug on mining workforce’, the Australian, 10 May 2012, p. 25, viewed 10 May 2012.

[3].       D Cleveland, ‘Bring forward retirement plans’, Australian Financial Review, 10 May 2012, p. 13, viewed 10 May 2012.

For copyright reasons some linked items are only available to members of Parliament.


© Commonwealth of Australia

 

In essence, you are free to copy and communicate this work in its current form for all non-commercial purposes, as long as you attribute the work to the author and abide by the other licence terms. The work cannot be adapted or modified in any way. Content from this publication should be attributed in the following way: Author(s), Title of publication, Series Name and No, Publisher, Date.

To the extent that copyright subsists in third party quotes it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.

Inquiries regarding the licence and any use of the publication are welcome to webmanager@aph.gov.au.

This work has been prepared to support the work of the Australian Parliament using information available at the time of production. The views expressed do not reflect an official position of the Parliamentary Library, nor do they constitute professional legal opinion.

Feedback is welcome and may be provided to: web.library@aph.gov.au. Any concerns or complaints should be directed to the Parliamentary Librarian. Parliamentary Library staff are available to discuss the contents of publications with Senators and Members and their staff. To access this service, clients may contact the author or the Library‘s Central Entry Point for referral.

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print
Back to top