Tax revenue on the up across all levels of government

By Tom Ravlic

April 27, 2022

australian tax return form
Tax time! (Australian Tax Office)

The combined tax take for all levels of government across Australia hit $593.2 billion, or 28.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) during the 2020-21 financial year, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week.

Taxation has emerged as a major issue in the 2022 election campaign, with both the federal government and the opposition debating the best way to get more money into consolidated revenue to pay for government services.

The numbers crunched by the ABS reveal that governments of all political persuasions across all jurisdictions got more out of their citizens.

Statistics released by the ABS on taxation revenue show governments managed to snaffle $593.2 billion in taxation revenue during the 2020-21 financial year, representing a 7.5% increase in taxes collected ($41.5 billion) from the previous year.

The ratio of tax collected by the national, state and territory, and local governments to GDP has not fallen below 27% for nearly a decade, with 27% being the figure during the 2012-2013 financial year.

That ratio peaked at 28.8% per cent in 2018-19, dropped back to 27.9% in 2019-20, but rose back up to 28.7% for the 2020-21 financial year.

There was a 7.5% jump in the federal government’s take in 2020-21, with the tax revenue going from $447. 6 billion in 2019-20 to $481.1 billion in 2020-21.

Queensland managed to outperform other Australian jurisdictions when it came to getting more out of its taxpaying citizens. Queensland’s tax revenue was $14.1 billion in 2019-20; it managed to increase its tax take by 14.7% ($16.2 billion) during 2020-21.

The sunshine state might be basking in increased revenues but the governmental coffers in Victoria had a far more modest increase by comparison to other states and territories.

Victoria’s tax revenues increased by 2.2% during 2020-21, with the state recording $23.4 billion in 2019-20 compared with $23.9 billion in 2020-21.

The ABS release on national taxation revenue coincides with a heated debate over various taxation measures between the two major parties vying for government.

This includes a dispute between the Coalition and the ALP over whether a carbon credit that companies might have to pay under a government led by Anthony Albanese is a “sneaky carbon tax” or a way to compensate for not being able to reduce emissions by adjusting the way the operate their business.

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