It is important that individuals understand their tax obligations in Australia. You should keep up to date on current tax rates and new ways to minimise your tax each year, ensuring you're making the most of the deductions made available to you. If you haven't already, speak with a tax agent to find out where you may benefit.
Income tax on personal income is a progressive income tax. The current tax-free threshold is $6,000 and the highest marginal rate for individuals is 45% (plus medicare levy).
In Australia, income taxes are withheld from wages and salaries, often resulting in refunds payable to taxpayers. A nine-digit Tax File Number must be quoted to employers for employees to have withholdings calculated using the various tax brackets. In the absence of this number employers are required to withhold tax at the highest marginal rate from the first dollar. Likewise, banks must also withhold the highest marginal rate of income tax on interest earned on bank accounts if the individual does not provide their tax file number to the bank. Corporate and business taxpayers are required to provide their tax file number or "Australian Business Number" to the bank, otherwise the bank will be required to withhold income tax at the highest rate of tax. It is not an offence to fail to provide a bank or financial institution with a tax file number of Australian Business Number, however the bank or financial institution will be required to withhold income tax at the highest marginal rate of income tax.
Low Income Tax Offset
The Low Income Tax Offset is an offset applicable in full for those earning up to $30,000. Since the 2007-08 Budget it has been increased $150 to $750 and the threshold now begins at $30,000. The offset will phase out for those earning over $30,000 at 4c for every dollar of taxable income over $30,000 thus the threshold ends at $48,750. A side effect of the increase of the Low Income Offset is the amount income per child that can be diverted to children though family trusts has also been increased. The increase in the LITO creates an effective tax-free threshold of $11,000 for low income earners.