Taxable income and tax paid in Commonwealth electoral divisions, 2000-01


Current Issues Brief Index

Current Issues Brief no.9 2003-04

Taxable income and tax paid in Commonwealth electoral divisions, 2000-01

Stephen Barber and Andrew Kopras
Statistics Section
22 March 2003

Contents

Taxation statistics by Commonwealth electoral division
Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by taxable individuals
Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by total taxable income
Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by mean taxable income
Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by total net tax
Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by mean net tax
Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by net tax ratio

Endnotes

Table 1Taxation statistics by Commonwealth electoral division

Table 2Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by taxable individuals

Table 3Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by total taxable income

Table 4Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by mean taxable income

Table 5Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by total net tax

Table 6Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by mean net tax

Table 7Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by net tax ratio

Bibliography

List of Maps

Mean Taxable Income by Commonwealth Electoral Division

Net Tax Ratio by Commonwealth Electoral Division

Maps are available in hard copy (Senators and Members only) or PDF version.

Glossary

Imputation credit. Tax paid at the company rate is allocated to shareholders by way of imputation credit attached to the (franked) dividends they receive. An amount equal to the imputation credit is included in assessable income of the shareholders, who are then entitled to a (franking) rebate of tax equal to the amount included in their income.

Mean net tax. Average (mean) amount of tax paid per taxable individual and equal to total net tax divided by the number of taxables.

Mean taxable income. Taxable income divided by the number of taxables, i.e. the average (mean) amount of taxable income per taxable individual.

Net tax ratio (previously known as effective rate of tax). The percentage of total taxable income paid in tax and equal to total net tax divided by the total taxable income.

Non-taxables. Individual taxpayers who, after taking into consideration the amount of income, deductions, rebates, credits and levies, are not required to pay tax.

Taxables. Individual taxpayers who, after taking into consideration the amount of income, deductions, rebates, credits and levies, are required to pay tax.

Taxpayers. Taxable plus non-taxable individuals.

Tax deduction. An amount that is deducted from assessable income to arrive at the taxable income on which the gross amount of tax to be paid is calculated. Each dollar of tax deduction only reduces tax by the percentage of the taxpayer's marginal rate of tax.

Tax rates scale, 2000-01

Taxable income

Tax payable (a)

From

To

$0

$6 000

Nil

 

 

 

 

$6 001

$20 000

Nil

+

17c

for each $1 over

$6 000

$20 001

$50 000

$2 380

+

30c

for each $1 over

$20 000

$50 001

$60 000

$11 380

+

42c

for each $1 over

$50 000

$60 001

 

$15 580

+

47c

for each $1 over

$60 000

(a) A Medicare levy of 1.5 per cent of taxable income is also payable. Also the tax-free threshold is increased for certain taxpayers with dependent children.

Tax rebate. An amount that reduces tax (i.e. tax offset) that is subtracted directly from the income tax payable. Each dollar of tax rebate reduces tax by a dollar, but rebates and credits allowed cannot exceed the gross tax.

Total net tax. Tax payable by taxable individuals after rebates and credits have been deducted from the gross tax calculated on taxable income. Net tax includes the Medicare Levy as well as the amount equal to the imputation credits, because each taxpayer claiming this credit has effectively paid the taxthe dividends (income) they received are already net of tax (paid at the company rate).

Total taxable income. The income of all taxables, to which the tax rates scale is applied; it is equal to total income less deductions.

Introduction

This paper provides taxation information for each Commonwealth electoral division (CED). The information shown includes such categories as the number of taxpayers (taxables and non-taxables), taxable income and the amount of tax paid. Tables have also been produced that rank the CEDs against some of these categories. The paper also includes choropleth (colour coded) maps of electoral divisions for mean taxable income and net tax ratio.

The statistics in this brief relate to the 200001 income year and provide updated information to the 199697 data published by the authors in an earlier publication (see bibliography). However, the statistics are not necessarily directly comparable because of electoral boundary redistributions in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, and because total net tax data released by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) now includes imputation credits.

The information shown in the following tables has been derived from data published at the postcode level by the ATO in Taxation Statistics, 2000-01. The allocation of postcodes to CEDs, or the concordance, is based upon results from the 2001 Census of Population and Housing and shows electoral divisions as at the 2001 election. When a postcode falls entirely within a CED, the postcode is wholly included within the CED. When a postcode is dissected by CED boundaries the results for the postcode are proportioned between the CEDs based upon the percentages of the population of that postcode that reside in each CED. Postcodes specified in the ATO data that are not Census-derived postcodes have been allocated to a CED using a map overlay method.

The postcode information published by the ATO is for the postcode stated in the home address on each tax return. If a postcode is not stated or, if stated, is not a valid postcode, i.e. no such postcode exists, the information is classified as unallocated within the State or Territory where the tax return was processed.(1)

The tax data shown in the tables were compiled by the ATO from individual tax return forms for the 200001 income year. Although the tax statistics were released on 15 December 2003, they only include information from forms which were processed by 31 October 2002. Therefore, the data for 200001 are not necessarily complete.

Main features

Taxation statistics by Commonwealth electoral division

Table 1, Taxation statistics by Commonwealth electoral division, shows various categories of tax information for the 200001 income year for each Commonwealth electoral division, listed alphabetically by State/Territory.(2) This information shows that the ACT has the highest average (mean) taxable income ($43 171) followed by NSW ($41 626) and Victoria ($38 636). The Northern Territory, which had the second-highest average taxable income in 199697, has now dropped to fourth. The ACT ($10 922) pays the highest average (mean) tax; however, the average tax paid in NSW ($10 649) is only just below the ACT. This gives NSW the highest net tax ratio, which is probably due to the effect of NSW paying more tax (proportionately) in the top income tax bracket. The Northern Territory, with greater access to tax rebates such as zone rebates, and Tasmania, with the lowest average taxable incomeover $4 900 below the national average and $9 600 below the ACTare the lowest net tax ratio jurisdictions (21.8 per cent). Victoria is just above the average income, average tax and tax ratio of Australia as a whole, while Tasmania is also the bottom State in average income and average tax.

Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by taxable individuals

Table 2, Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by taxable individuals, shows, as expected, the smallest electorates (by number of electors enrolled) at the bottom of the table.(3) Tasmania has four electorates in the bottom five and all five of its electorates are in the bottom seven, while the Northern Territory electorates are bottom and eighth bottom. The ACT electorates of Fraser and Canberra appear at the top of this table because they are the largest electorates in Australia.(4)

Although not shown in this paper, if a comparison is made of the ratio of taxable individuals to electors, a further picture emerges. The top ten electorates have, on average, 81 taxables for every 100 electors enrolled, with Sydney (NSW) having 98 and North Sydney (NSW) and Wentworth (NSW) each having 88. The bottom ten electorates have only 55 taxables per 100 electors, with the Northern Territory electorates being at either end of the range: Lingiari has only 46 and Solomon (i.e inner metropolitan Darwin) 75.(5) The Australian average is 66 taxables per 100 electors.

The top ten electorates are all inner metropolitan (in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra). These electorates tend to have lower unemployment levels and more two-income families. Over half of the bottom ten electorates are classified as rural, and electorates such as Cowper (NSW) and Richmond (NSW)both rural electorates on the north coast of NSWalso include large numbers of retired people.

Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by total taxable income

Table 3, Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by total taxable income, shows similar patterns to Table 2 and is influenced by two factors, firstly, the number of taxable individuals, and secondly, the size of the incomes of those taxables. The ATO states that:

The source and level of income varies according to the age and employment status of the taxpayer. For example, among retirees the main sources of income are government and other pensions and annuities, and eligible termination payments. As a result, the amount oftaxable income [is] low among older age groups.

Level of income also varies widely according to geographic location. People of similar incomes tend to live in the same general areas.(6)

An obvious example of the effect of income sizeswhether incomes are generally higher or lower relative to other electoratesis the reordering of electorates throughout this table in comparison with Table 2. At the top of the table, the generally much higher incomes of the north shore and eastern suburbs areas of Sydney and the eastern suburbs of Melbourne have caused these electorates to displace the ACT electorates, which have higher numbers of taxpayers.

At the bottom end of the table, the smaller electorates of the Northern Territory and Tasmania are joined by the NSW north coast and hinterland electorates of Lyne, Cowper, Page and Richmond and the Queensland rural electorate of Wide Bay.

Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by mean taxable income

Table 4, Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by mean taxable income, shows an income spread from just under $29 900 in Cowper (NSW) to almost $70 900 in Bradfield (NSW). Calare (NSW) and Lalor (Vic) are the electorates in the middle of the table with average incomes around $35 550.

As mentioned above, unemployment levels have an important effect on the number of taxpayers and the level of income. In the December quarter 2000, Bradfield (NSW), North Sydney (NSW) and Wentworth (NSW) were estimated to have unemployment rates of 1.7 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 3.0 per cent respectively.(7) At the other end of the rankings, Cowper (NSW), Fairfax (Qld) and Page (NSW) had unemployment rates of 12.2 per cent, 12.0 per cent and 10.7 per cent respectively. At this same time the national unemployment rate was 6.2 per cent.

Cowper and Page are situated on the north coast of NSW while Fairfax takes in the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. Apart from having high unemployment levels, these areas are all rural electorates that also have high proportions of retired people. The combination of these factors would help explain their low levels of average taxable income.

Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by total net tax

Table 5, Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by total net tax, shows the total net individual income tax paid on the total taxable income in each electorate.

This table is not comparable with the similar table in the earlier publication because the net tax category published by the ATO now includes imputation credits.(8) This particularly affects the electorates at the top of the table which have high levels of imputation credits reflecting the levels of share ownership by the higher income groups.

North Sydney (NSW), at the top, paid nearly $1.8 billion in tax in 200001, Lingiari (NT), at the other end, paid under $210 million. The effect of marginal tax rates(9) is evident here because North Sydney only has 3.0 times the taxables of Lingiari yet has 5.6 times the taxable income and pays 8.7 times net tax. The average taxable income in North Sydney attracts the top marginal tax rate of 48.5 per centin 199697, it attracted the second top marginal rate of 44.7 per centthe average taxable income in Lingiari a marginal rate of 31.5 per cent (the electorate of Lingiari did not exist at the 1996 election).(10) This result is further emphasised when looking at the net tax ratio (or average rate of tax) shown in Table 7.

Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by mean net tax

Table 6, Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by mean net tax, shows the average tax paid by the taxable individuals in each electorate. This varied from $5 940 in Cowper (NSW) to $23 550 in Bradfield (NSW), with the tax paid in the middle-ranking electorates of provincial Moncrieff (Qld) and rural Calare (NSW) of $7 990.

Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by net tax ratio

Table 7, Commonwealth electoral divisions ranked by net tax ratio (previously called effective rate of tax), shows the average (mean) rate of tax paid on the taxable income. At the top of the rankings 33 per cent, or a third, of income is paid in tax compared with the bottom where 20 per cent, or a fifth, of income is tax.

Endnotes

1.      It is possible for a valid postcode not to be a valid residential postcode, e.g. post office box postcodes. Also, for confidentiality reasons, postcodes with fewer than 100 taxpayers (non-taxables plus taxables) are also classified as unallocated.

2.      The totals shown for NSW and ACT differ from those published by the ATO. The ATO includes the information for the postcode 2619 (Jerrabomberra, NSW) in its totals for the ACT; the figures in this paper include 2619 in NSW.

3.      After the Northern Territory, Tasmania has the smallest electorates in the country with an average enrolment of nearly 66 350 electors. The two Northern Territory electorates have an average of just over 55 500 compared with the average enrolment in Australia in 2001 of 84 725.

4.      At the 2001 Federal election, the number of electors enrolled for these electorates was Canberra 108 959 and Fraser 112 225. The average enrolment for the other top ten electorates was 88 525.

5.      A list of electorates and the number of electors enrolled at the 2001 election can be found in Commonwealth Election 2001 (see the bibliography).

6.      Australian Taxation Office, Taxation Statistics, 199697, A Summary of Taxation, Superannuation and Child Support Statistics, p. 15.

7.      Estimates of unemployment rates by electoral division are produced by the Statistics Group of the Parliamentary Library from data published in Small Area Labour Markets by the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business. For more information on the methodology involved in producing the unemployment rates for electorates see A. Kopras and T. Kryger, Estimated Unemployment Rates by Electorate, December Quarter 1997, Research Note, no. 46, Information and Research Services, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 199798. The unemployment rate data can be found on the Parliamentary Library intraNetavailable only to Members and Senators at http://libiis1/Library_Services/electoralatlas/Electorate/SmallArea.htm#division

8.      The imputation credit is included because dividends received by taxpayers from companies are assessable income, and although tax has already been paid by the companies, this amount of tax would have been payable by the taxpayers. Dividends that are taxed at the company level and then distributed to taxpayers are also accompanied by an imputation credit equal to the amount of tax paid. Since dividends are assessable income but the dividends received are net dividends, i.e. net of tax, the amount of dividend that is assessed as income (or added to any existing taxable income) is the net dividend plus the imputation credit. Tax is calculated on the total taxable income and then reduced by the amount of imputation credit.

9.      The marginal rate of tax is the rate of tax that is paid on the last dollar earned. For the 200001 income tax rates scale, see the Glossary.

10.     These marginal rates include the Medicare Levy of 1.5 per cent of taxable income (1.7 per cent in 199697).


Bibliography

Australian Taxation Office, Taxation Statistics, 200001, on ATO website

http://www.ato.gov.au/taxprofessionals/content.asp?doc=/content/37484.htm.

S. Barber and A. Kopras, Taxable Income and Tax Paid in Commonwealth Electoral Divisions, 199697, Current Issues Brief, no. 13, Information and Research Services, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 199899.

S. Bennett, G. Newman and A. Kopras, Commonwealth Election 2001, Research Paper, no. 11, Information and Research Services, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 200102.

Taxpayers Australia Inc., Tax Summary, 2001 & 2002.

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