Australians Uneasy with Tax Treatment of Banks

December 15, 2010 Taxation in Australia

Australian & NSW Flag-Sydney Harbour BridgeThe results of a new survey has been revealed indicating that Australian taxpayers are unsatisfied with what they perceive to be a low level of taxation on the country’s banks, and that they believe issue of an extra bank tax has to be brought into greater discussion.

On December 15th the Australia Institute, an independent national think-tank concerned with fiscal policy analysis, released the results of a new survey, showing that 81 percent of Australians believe that a new bank tax should be brought in front of the next Tax Summit, which will take place June 30th 2011 to debate the country’s future tax reforms. Additionally, 67 percent of Australians surveyed wished to see the Tax Summit take up further discussion on the issue of the national mining super profits tax.

Richard Denniss, Executive Director of the Institute, commented on the results of the study, saying that survey questions regarding the taxation of banks were added to questionnaire almost as an afterthought. He postulated that Australian taxpayers feel hostility towards national banks and mining operations, due to their incredibly high level of profits. Richard Denniss also went on to say that, “…both the mining companies and the banks earn super profits; the miners have privileged access to our minerals and the bankers have privileged access to the funding system,” and that Australian largely believe that, “…both earn well above the amount needed to reward someone to do the job.” However, he pointed to the fact that while mining taxation has been widely discussed and debated in Australia, the issue of bank taxation has been relatively untouched.

The Institute is now scheduled to make a presentation to the Australian Senate’s inquiry into the banking sector with the full set of results from the survey along with an analysis into the annual reports of the country’s major banks. It is expected that the Institute will try and force the issue of banking taxes into greater discussion, both among the public and at the Senate. Richard Denniss summarized the Institutes future intentions, saying, ”What’s good enough for the miners should be good enough for the banks. We will be telling the Senate that if in 12 months’ time bank profits have gone up not down in the wake of the Treasurer’s package, it should consider a super profits tax.”

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