Analysing the ATO Taxation Statistics 2014-15, H&R Block communications director Mark Chapman said that while on the surface most of the statistics are unsurprising, there are some interesting things deeper down.
“Looking at the headline data, I guess the most eye-catching item really is the inequality between different parts of Australia which these figures actually reveal,” he said.
“The actual distribution of where the more prosperous areas and the poorer areas actually are hasn't really changed, which I suppose is maybe not too surprising. Also not too surprising, it’s the list of the highest average income occupations – [they] are all pretty much what you'd expect to see.”
However, Mr Chapman said once you “delve down in to the nitty-gritty of the figures”, you start to see some interesting things.
“In 2014-15 the vast majority of individuals were still using tax agents, nearly 74 per cent of individuals were lodging through tax agents, which is good news for tax agents,” he said.
“It’s been around that area, it's hovered between 70 and 74 per cent for many years now, and it’s not really dipped below 70 per cent certainly in my memory.”
He continued: “That may be an indicator that the ATO's push towards lodging through MyTax has not really caught fire the way they might've expected it too so far.”
The other interesting information Mr Chapman highlighted was about negative gearing beyond the confirmation that the higher your average income, the more likely you are to benefit from negative gearing.
“The actual amount that people have been claiming through negative gearing has fallen slightly this year. I suspect because of lower interest rates, which means that people are claiming less through their mortgage deductions,” Mr Chapman said.
“The salient point there is that the government is actually losing less tax to negative gearing at the moment than it probably has in the past, but obviously interest rates go up and down so that situation could very easily reverse itself if interest rates start to go back up again.”