Call for tax changes for working older Australians

Font Size:

More age pensioners are being forced to work in order to stave off pension poverty, according to new University of Tasmania research.

Nearly five per cent of people on the pension are now doing paid work, and that number is predicted to increase, as the cost of living rises and increased rents push more people towards the brink of poverty.

The research also found that women and divorcees are among the most affected.

“Aged pensioners who are working were three times more likely to have been divorced than aged pensioners or other self-funded retirees,” cost of living and inequality researcher Paul Blacklow told 7.30.

“The majority of women that were working as pensioners wanted to work less while only about 20 or 30 per cent of males who are working wanted to work less.”

A single full age pensioner receives $926 a fortnight and can earn up to $474 a fortnight – including the Work Bonus – before their pension is affected. Then they lose 50c for every dollar earnt over that amount.

The penalties are as such that many pensioners, like 67-year-old Victorian, Bev Foster, say it is almost not worth working more than what the threshold will allow.

“I would definitely like to earn more,” Ms Foster told 7.30.

“But I’ve been in situations where my pension has been cut so much that my income doesn’t really increase as much as it should.”

And pensioners aren’t the only ones affected by such strict income rules.

“The highest effective marginal tax rates are felt by people receiving family tax benefit and those on unemployment benefits, that’s where the real high effective marginal tax rates are,” said Dr Blacklow.

And retirees who don’t own their own home have it worse.

“It’s a huge advantage to own your own property and not have to pay rent in retirement,” he said.

“It’s often one of the big factors that determines whether you’re going to be living in poverty in retirement or not.”

Seniors advocacy group, National Seniors, has called for changes to tax rules to encourage pensioners to work without being penalised so severely, to help tackle pension poverty.

“One of the things that they should be looking at is pension poverty in Australia,” Ian Henschke from National Seniors Australia told 7.30.

“One in four pensioners is living in poverty.

“And if they do go out and get a job, once they’ve earned one day’s work, they start to lose their pension,” he said.

“So why not encourage people instead of discouraging people.

“If you look at countries like Canada and New Zealand, they’ve got a much lower tax rate, and they allow their pensioners to work.

“And guess what? They’ve got lower pensioner poverty.”

The YourLifeChoices Retirement Income Review Survey 2019 shows that almost eight in 10 retirees feel there should be more incentives for people to work longer. More than one in 10 of those who would work longer say the effect on their Age Pension is a major deterrent to seeking employment.

As to what those incentives might be, one YourLifeChoices member replied: “Less or no income tax for low income retirees. Higher income limit before affecting Age Pension. Incentive to put income into age at home fund and avoid tax or affecting Age Pension.”

Another said: “Reduced concessional taxation, free travel to work, reduced healthcare costs if working past 65”, and another replied “We should be able to receive a normal wage plus the pension, and then we could still be contributing more to the economy”.

Do you think there should be more incentives for working longer? What should they be?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

Join
By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy

RELATED LINKS

Tax laws penalising older workers

Tax laws are costing some older workers thousands.

The key problems reported by older workers

The government wants older Australians to work for longer, but are workplaces ready for

The “untapped wealth of wisdom” of older workers

Older workers possess vital skills and experience for Australia's future.

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

Contact:
LinkedIn
Email

76 Comments

Total Comments: 76
  1. 0
    0

    Well this is finally one article that tells it like it is.

    Once you reach retirement age if your still working FULL TIME BIG tax breaks should cut in for those still working full time.

    Those that have retired and still cant get by on the pension should be allowed to work and not have this draconian 50 cents in the dollar reduction rubbish.

    Universal pension for all those at retirement age and still be allowed to work full time..

    • 0
      0

      Agree Panos
      Universal pension for all those at retirement age and still be allowed to work full time..

    • 0
      0

      It sounds too simple to be true AND so effective to address the issues and dodge reams of red tape (plus the threat of Robodebt-type punishments down the track).

      Universal pension plus no restrictions or penalty on work, plus tax paid on all income (like everybody else). That would mean only the ATO would play a part – no Centrelink interference and crap red tape.

    • 0
      0

      Universal Age Pension for all with NO tests for Income or Assets, at Age 65 and say Residency 15 years is the simplest and most obvious solution. Yes, Hoohoo, no Centrelink in Pensioners lives (massive benefit for Govt & Retirees), as ATO can simply issue out payments after an initial application.
      Dave R has also explained relevant taxation below.

      However, just writing here in YLC will NOT achieve such major reform as our politicians do not read this and do not see any benefit for themselves, especially with many (pre-2004 elected) politicians keen to protect their massive defined benefit pensions for life. It is important for ALL Retirees and Pre-Retirees to push the case themselves by writing in to the Retirement Income Review for which submissions can be made on Treasury’s web page with this name, with a deadline of 3rd Feb 2020. It is very important for them to receive a flood of such submissions otherwise they will definitely ignore this idea.

    • 0
      0

      You guys are dreaming…. do you think that the LNP will give us a break Yeahhhh UR dreaming they need the extra money for their pensions…. These seat warmers are a real fuck and they do not work for the AU citizens they work for themselves it is their business model to be a politician …..wowowowowo Ok so keep dreaming

    • 0
      0

      You might be right, Aussie, but it was Labor that introduced both the current income test and the assets test. It was Labor that increased retirement ages. And it was Labor that recently threatened to wipe out the incomes of struggling self-funded retirees by both denying them a pension AND taxing their dividend income by refusing them their franking credits. I have yet to see any proposal by Labor to reform the pension system to give retirees a better deal.

    • 0
      0

      You might be right, Aussie, but it was Labor that introduced both the current income test and the assets test. It was Labor that increased retirement ages. And it was Labor that recently threatened to wipe out the incomes of struggling self-funded retirees by both denying them a pension AND taxing their dividend income by refusing them their franking credits. I have yet to see any proposal by Labor to reform the pension system to give retirees a better deal.

  2. 0
    0

    This is one of the most relevant articles for aged pensioners. The current ‘work allowance’ is disgustingly low. It should be doubled and partners income given tax relief. $45-50k pa is barely enough to survive in a household – politicians are greedy, self indulgent morons.

  3. 0
    0

    I agree the pension should be universal but taxable at normal income tax rates.
    In other words the pension is paid in full to everyone, no income test.

    • 0
      0

      Dave R you must be joking about the tax component of taxing the pension, pensioners would be worse OFF not better have a rethink !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 0
      0

      You have to earn more than the age pension now to get taxed now.

    • 0
      0

      What do you call removing 50c in every dollar of your pension if you earn over a certain amount

      I CALL THAT A TAX

    • 0
      0

      No that is not a tax. It is an income test because people who earn money don’t need welfare.

    • 0
      0

      The age pension is taxable now panos. But if you only get the pension your income is too low to pay any income tax.
      I am saying it should stay that way, but remove the 50 cents in the dollar reduction for earnt income.
      Understand now?

    • 0
      0

      The age pension is taxable now panos. But if you only get the pension your income is too low to pay any income tax.
      I am saying it should stay that way, but remove the 50 cents in the dollar reduction for earnt income.
      Understand now?

    • 0
      0

      Dave R – quite correct – that is how Universal Pension works, you get the full pension as well as superannuation. Then you might work in a job as well, have a few shares, an investment property maybe; and then you tally them all together and pay tax on the lot. Most people would be better off and all the hiding of assets and cash in hand jobs would disappear. Effort would be rewarded, people would work longer and save some dough for spending thus helping the economy.
      Would not work for pension only people and dependency advocates but it work for the country as a whole for sure.

    • 0
      0

      Get rid of the 50c penalty altogether and tax everyone according to their income. This would also address the look for younger people, many of whom rightly think Baby Boomers get or got too much (compared to them).

      The trick would be to make sure very wealthy people actually pay SOME tax. This is a problem across the board.

  4. 0
    0

    Well guess what ,this is exactly what happens in first world countries like New Zealand
    you can spend it however you like ,you have earned it and if you have had the common sense to save some as in a super fund or otherwise then you are in a better position for living in your twilight years , you can almost call it a type of natural selection.
    But don’t worry bully boy Morrison is throwing it away at the moment all you have to do is make a lot of noise and you will be rewarded, even Newstart recipients could do well in March when pensioners et al get yet another extra cup of coffee a fortnight.
    A universal pension is the best way to go, the gov just needs to manage tax collected a lot better. But don’t worry Morrison must have lots under the mattress the way he is throwing it around

    • 0
      0

      the gov just needs to manage tax collected a lot better

      Yes get all those companies to pay the proper tax….. and also we are being stripped of our mineral wealth in this country and getting nothing out of it.

    • 0
      0

      If a Universal Pension was they way to go in Oz, it would have been done years ago. What government wouldn’t want to cut their costs? Fact is on current projections, it is going to cost app $72 Billion per annum by 2030 to provide the Age Pension each year. If you took away means testing and gave it to everyone over the age of 65 as per NZ, that balloons to app $156 Billion PA just for the Age Pension. Abolishing Centrelink won’t cover that increase. Past governments struggle to keep a balance between a surplus and deficits now, wait until, they have to pay that bill. Besides that money has got to come from Taxpayers, and there will be fewer of them apparently, so the best option is to make it easier for current workforce age Australians to not need welfare when they are older, or at least delay needed it.

    • 0
      0

      I agree totally, Panos.

      McDaddy, the cost may be great but you must factor in the savings, which would be huge with the removal of Centrelink red tape. Huge saving.
      Then let the ATO do what they do best – collect tax on income. (I wish they did it a whole lot better, though, especially from high earning tax eluders)

    • 0
      0

      Hoohoo it does not cost $90 Billion to run Centrelink each yer, so no savings, only increase welfare costs.

    • 0
      0

      Agree with Hoohoo, universal pension would do away with everyone trying to get the pension card and push all money in the house instead of investing it for profit and paying taxes on it. If you have absolutely no money in savings or investments you would of course not be interested at all. Of all the people I know here in this pensioners’ haven not many are hand-to-mouth people and would behave differently under an Universal Pension. Saving up all year and give a lump sum to the kids at Christmas is quite common which is laughable really – they never buy themselves new clothes.

    • 0
      0

      McDaddy it’s not just the annual cost of running Centrelink, it’s the costs outside of the financial year, like long service leave and other benefits that accumulate.

      Centrelink would still have the task of facilitating welfare services, so that $90billion you’ve quoted should be a lower figure (if you’re only comparing the savings/cost for OAP pension services).

      I think the greatest saving would be something that can’t be measured in money terms – the lack of stress and waste of precious time dealing with/fighting with Centrelink for your due pension.

    • 0
      0

      McDaddy, how much would be saved by encouraging people to save more for retirement instead of punishing them? How much would be saved by encouraging people to work in retirement if they can? How much would be saved by discouraging oldies from buying or retaining expensive homes in order to dodge the cruel assets test?

      Misguided bureaucrats and Government advisers have no idea how much a universal pension would cost (or save) because they are completely incapable of calculating the impact of changed human behaviour. In fact, in response to correspondence I was advised that the Government does not even attempt to factor in the economic impact of behavioural changes resulting from changed policies. Therefore, there is no way in the world anyone can claim that a universal pension would cost too much. Nobody has the faintest inkling what it would cost.

      As Hoohoo points out, there would also be savings from the lack of stress, which would translate to major savings in health and care costs. Allowing oldies to retain assets to pass on to their children and grandchildren, and to help their children cover education and health care costs for grandchildren, instead of spending on cruises and restaurant dinners to stay under asset limits and avoiding anything that looks like a gift, would result in huge savings in the long term by relieving financial stress for our offspring.

      The fact is that most developed nations do pay a universal pension. Yet Australia has high relative rates of age poverty. So clearly those other nations are doing something better than Australia, and thus we have to conclude that the universal pension IS affordable and a better policy than the one that is currently creating so much age poverty in Australia.

  5. 0
    0

    Just got back from New Zealand last week. Yes their pension is universal and you can work as well if you want. And many have to as it’s only about $345 per week … that is what a friend of mine told me and she has just turned 65. It is then added to your income from all other sources and you are taxed accordingly, much the same as USA. In principle I do agree with a universal pension, as then the costs of administering it would be much ( no means
    testing etc), and therefore a larger pool of funds, hopefully, to give to age pensioners (and others)

    • 0
      0

      The real amounts payable can be found at W.I.N.Z.co.
      z work and income NZ They don’t call it old age pension they call it nz super. Everyone pays tax on earnings in nz including nz super recipients, there is no tax-free threshold for anyone even a kid working in maccas.It is also payable at 65yrs not 66 or 67

    • 0
      0

      Sorry to disagree, but they do call it the old age pension. Have just been there and go 3-4x per year. Many also have kiwi super, which as I understand it is not compulsory, about 3% of wage, and not tax deductible.

  6. 0
    0

    If you can’t live on $700 a week then you are living way beyond your means. The both of us live on a lot less than $700 a week.

    • 0
      0

      Your smugness is astounding. I don’t think that those people with limited or no super, renting in an area with high rents and needing to be near medical facilities will care about how you live your perfect life. You should look up “compassion” in the dictionary and to assist, it’s somewhere between “arrogant” and “goose”.

    • 0
      0

      TOUCHE chop chop

    • 0
      0

      If you can’t afford to live in one area then find one where you can afford to live.

    • 0
      0

      Please don’t bring up the LNP hypocritical ‘DEEMING RATES!’

    • 0
      0

      If a person needs to be near medical facilities they won’t get them moving to a place where they can ‘afford’ to live. Cities and major regional towns are ridiculously overpriced and out of the reach of many would be home owners. Rural towns are more affordable however the down side is Rural medicine has been gutted. Many towns have no public transport and are expensive hours from urban specialists. Whilst I agree people need to live within their means, the pension is also based on a fit healthy home owning retiree.

      I think Horace has it right.
      You really shouldn’t comment if you have no empathy. Judging by your comments I’m not sure why you have or live by the moniker you’ve chosen.

    • 0
      0

      Mootnell – VCBB is always taking the piss and stir the people up. Long ago he learnt to play the system like a violin and he’s a master at it. We all could as well but many of us left it to late. You have to think about it before you turn 60, you can shift you assets then. Have mates having done that long ago – the kids pick up the tabs for expenses. When you drop off the perch they get it all back without inheritance taxes to worry about. Old hat really, our betters in Canberra will know that as well.

    • 0
      0

      What has VCBB said that is so bad it warrants the visceral reaction by so many? It is not taking the piss to express another point of view nor is it a sin to be dispassionate and not buy into the drama of the situation. Compassion and empathy does not help those with low incomes balance “renting in an area with high rents and needing to be near medical facilities”. The fact is not everybody can live next door to the medical facility of their choosing.

      The vast majority of the population is able to travel to medical appointments with family, public or community transport. People choosing to live in remote areas without transport should talk to their council, charity or other support organisations to see what if anything can be done. If there is no suitable solution then perhaps it’s time for them to reconsider their priorities so they can make their appointments. If access to medical facilities is the number one priority then the solution seems obvious, even if unpalatable, as Bear already said above.

      By way of example, my grandparents reluctantly left their farm and moved to the nearest regional city after my grandfather had a stroke. There was no local public transport 40 years ago and my grandmother did not drive so it was scarcely a unique circumstance.

      I live in a village with population 600 with no medical facilities yet even it has a bus a couple of times a day that connects with a bigger bus to take people to the nearest town with facilities 30 minutes away or an even bigger bus to travel three hours to the city. Sure, it’s a trek and would be a nuisance to do it frequently but choices have consequences.

    • 0
      0

      Renting is expensive everywhere. The closer to amenities, the more expensive it is. The further from amenities, the cheaper the rent but the higher the costs of health care.

      The uncaring responses here suggest we should all plan for future health issues, which is ridiculously unrealistic. If you’ve been fit and healthy all your life, without disease, it is impossible to plan for what will slow you down in the future and at the end. You can only guess.

      My sister’s father-in-law is 97 and has just burned out his third treadmill, so now on his fourth. He’s lucky he can still live at home with my brother-in-law checking in every day with shopping and home-cooked (delicious & nutritious) meals. He still cooks for himself but is not allowed to drive outside a certain path, so his son takes him to the doctors. He’s a gorgeous and funny old bloke so everyone’s glad he didn’t “plan” his retirement home 25 years ago – he probably would have died years ago from the awful food.

      Having close, loving family support is probably the biggest factor in the quality of life of the elderly. And owning your own home is huge.

    • 0
      0

      Retiring well has retired well and actively votes so others can’t.

  7. 0
    0

    If those over 65 are given tax relief that will mean a reduction in government income. It’s all well and good to make suggestions but the ramifications must also be considered. If a government has a reduction in taxes collected they will most certainly increase tax rates to compensate and this may mean that those under 65 will pay more tax to subsidise those over 65 getting tax relief.

    If we look at the figures quoted, a single full age pensioner receives $926 a fortnight and can earn up to $474 a fortnight – including the Work Bonus – before their pension is affected. Then they lose 50c for every dollar earned over that amount. So, if a pensioner can earn $1000pw they will still receive a part pension and a health care card. This is based on the first $237 allowable income and the balance of $763 reducing the pension by $381.50pw.

    • 0
      0

      Dont think you thought it through before commenting…

      If those over 65 are given tax relief that will mean a reduction in government income.

      If you stop working and get the pension guess what they don’t get any tax either.

      So give us a tax break if we work full time past retirement age…..

      They still get there chop and eat it too

    • 0
      0

      People over 60 are already given tax relief. If you are 65 you can earn over $100.000 and pay no tax because there Is no tax on super after 60.

    • 0
      0

      Point me in the direction where a PAYE tax payer gets a benefit for being over 60..

      ..

    • 0
      0

      A PAYE family earning $60,000 or less gets more refunded to them than they pay in tax.

      A PAYE taxpayer over 60 gets their super tax free. If they have $1.6 million that’s at least $64,000 tax free.

    • 0
      0

      Thanks panos, I did think it through. Maybe you assumed that when a person retires that their job no longer exists? That job earns tax for the government regardless of who is doing it so giving tax relief for any reason reduces the government income. If an employee retires there is someone to take up the position and pay tax.

    • 0
      0

      Tax cuts have become so politicised, probably since Howard as PM. He gave tax cuts for votes instead of investing the mining boom into infrastructure. We’re still behind because of it, too.

      Now, the hymn book only reads “tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.” What political party can dare campaign against them now? Who, Horace Cope, do you think this government will hit in your “those under 65 will pay more tax to subsidise those over 65 getting tax relief.”?

      The answer is that they always cut services, because they can’t increase big bad naughty taxes. Oh no – that’s against their religion. But they’ve got a big heart when it comes to cutting services for the disadvantaged or pensioners. Easy peasy. Like stealing candy from a baby.

  8. 0
    0

    what about the 40% tax pensioners pay on their pension, that is the same as a worker, that should stop, I am 78 now that is 3 years past die by date (insurance and gov) I would love to get a job to get money in the pocket again. It is time the insurance companies etc. were made to recalibrate their rates and lift their ( ding) age Go mogo

  9. 0
    0

    I am in my 70’s, pay $566 per fortnight for my mortgage, put away for bills and am left with $96 a fortnight to live on, buy food etc. The situation I’m in was not my doing and my house won’t be paid off until I am 85. It needs work to sell to achieve a decent price or I would be in the same situation with another mortgage if I could even qualify. Older single females are fully discriminated against so that would be unlikely.

    • 0
      0

      I’m in the same situation. On aged pension, single female still with mortgage since being forced out of my job 10 months before being eligibile for pension. Had to use most of my small amount of super towards mortgage. Since then have applied for over 245 jobs, some interviews but no job. Have been offered a few but rip off pay (one was to deliver flowers using my car, worked out at less than $6 per hour). I now do longer apply as is total waste of time. I now do any little odd jobs to get by, but don’t know for how long. Dog minding, baby sitting, sell things on local sell site. Would even be barely worth working. For singles, earning $300 a fortnight to keep full pension is way to our small. But then this amount is taxable, something all their bragging conveniently overlooks. Anything over $300 reduces your pension.

  10. 0
    0

    At present there is no incentive at all to work. It is bad enough on the Age Pension but on DSP it’s even worse. You can only earn $179 per fortnight before they take 50c in the $. If you have any Super drawdown they include that as ‘income’ which effectively makes that $179 even less. Penalised for using your own money to survive. Any more than 30 hours per f/n and they cut the pension completely. This Government is always banging on about getting older people back into the workforce but do nothing to encourage it. Meanwhile they resign or get chucked out of Government, get a full massive pension, all the lurks and perks, corporate freebies, etc. then go off and find themselves a top paid job, or two, and no loss of benefits. Nice balanced fair system – NOT!!

    • 0
      0

      They were keen enough to take our taxes when we were working but don’t want to know about us oldies when we are past that stage. Politicians are probably the lowest form of life in existence, the benefits they receive after retirement is nothing short of criminal. Not as if they have to work hard. One politician own 39 houses so I assume he is really struggling to survive on the income from that as well as the income and benefits he receives.

    • 0
      0

      So true, you two!

Load More Comments

FACEBOOK COMMENTS



SPONSORED LINKS

continue reading

Food and Recipes

Silky Vegan Chocolate Mousse

You may be sceptical about using tofu in a dessert, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. This silky chocolate...

Wellbeing

What is deep sleep and how can you get more of it?

You may have heard that adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. But the quality of...

Technology News

Why you may have to buy a new device whether you want to or not

Michael Cowling, CQUniversity Australia We've probably all been there. We buy some new smart gadget and when we plug it...

COVID-19

Poll reveals support for vaccinations and compulsory masks

Fewer Australians say they would take a coronavirus vaccination now than at the outset of the pandemic, but a big...

News

How to avoid being tracked online

The internet is most likely monitoring every move you make through your computer or device and, unless you know the...

COVID-19

Aussies want Morrison to refute health misinformation

Australians are fed up with the growing spread of misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic and want Prime Minister Scott...

Nutrition

The diet that can put type 2 diabetes into remission

Consuming fewer carbohydrates can potentially put type 2 diabetes into remission. An international study involving Australia's CSIRO found that strict...

Finance

CHOICE tips to take charge of 2021

Have you made a resolution to be better with money this year? After 2020, many of us could probably do...

LOADING MORE ARTICLE...