A record number of Australians have lodged their tax returns early in the hopes of getting their hands on a hefty refund. However, a senior academic at the UNSW asks if it is time for Australia to abandon the process of filing the annual tax return.
Kathrin Bain, a Lecturer in the School of Taxation and Business Law, says many Australians may love putting in a tax return in the hope of claiming back some money, but this year is unusual. An early rush of eager tax returnees has been attributed to the tax cuts passed in parliament last week. Low and middle-income earners should receive up to an extra $1080 in their tax refunds this year.
But should people have to file a tax return at all?
“Normally, a tax refund means we are just claiming back money we’ve lent the government, interest free. Put in those terms, the tax return just seems like an expensive drag on the economy,” she says.