Estate duties, ‘death taxes’, should be part of mature tax debate

Today, The Australia Institute has released a new paper Surprise Me When I’m Dead: Revisiting the Case for Estate Duties, which adds further analysis of the role estate taxes could play in Australia to raise revenue to and address inequality.

“Congratulations to Tim Costello and the Community Council for Australia for bringing estate duties into the tax reform debate,” Executive Director of The Australia Institute, Ben Oquist said.

“Unfortunately, the idea that estate duties are politically impossible in Australia has become an article of faith.

“But the ‘everything on the table’ tax debate a country with a revenue problem must have should include a tax that is fair, simple and productive.” 

One model would exempt everything up to $2 million and impose rates of 20 per cent thereafter and 30 per cent above $10 million. The estimated revenue boost would be $5 billion per annum.

“The model that we looked at would raise $5 billion a year, and only effect a few of the very wealthiest. In the words of the Prime Minister: ‘those who can afford to pay’.

“This is a tax that is in place in one form or another in the UK, US and a whole host of other OECD countries, so there is no real argument for Australia losing any competiveness.

“Estate duties have a major role to play in addressing the increasing inequalities in Australia,” Oquist said.

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