Polling: Income Tax and Inequality

The Australia Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,449 Australians about income inequality and income taxation. Overall most respondents agreed with principles of progressive taxation and disagreed that income tax in Australia should be made less progressive.

Key Results:

+ 74% of respondents agreed that if the gap between high and low incomes grows, people on higher incomes should pay more of the total income tax. This is a key consequence of a progressive income tax system.

+ Most respondents disagreed with the idea that increasing the top income tax rate would discourage high income earners from working less and earning less money (57% disagree). This is a key claim often made for reducing higher income tax rates.

+ 67% agreed that those on the ‘highest’ incomes should pay the majority of the income tax. 26% strongly agreed.

+ When specified as the top 20% of highest income earners, there were similar levels of agreement (65%). 26% strongly agreed.

+ Respondents overwhelmingly disagreed that people on high incomes currently pay too much tax (72% disagree) and that people on low incomes do not pay enough (84% disagree).

+ Respondents overwhelmingly disagreed that people on $200,000 a year in the same tax bracket as people on $45,000 a year. This change has been legislated as part of the government’s income tax cut package.

Full report