Tuesday 14 May 2013

How will the budget affect me?

Many of the fine details often don't become apparent for several days after the budget is released, as I'm not about to wade through the entire budget document set (http://australia.gov.au/topics/government-and-parliament/budget), and the media focuses on the headline items and misses/ignores some of the fine points that may actual have the biggest impact. But so far the budget doesn't look *too* bad, with some of the cost savings, such as changes to the baby bonus and family tax benefit rules, not affecting us at all. Those that are likely to impact me are:

1. Phasing out the medical 'out of pocket' expenses tax rebate. Since I pay enough tax to make use of this rebate, and my 'out of pocket' medical expenses I paid last financial year was $8,671, this change will cost me quite a bit. I suppose I'll just have to tell the kids to stop having medical problems.

2. The 'deferral' of the raising of the tax threshold will cost only a few dollars, and I wasn't counting on Labor giving middle income wage earners any tax cuts anyhow, no matter what they'd previously 'promised'.

3. There's some change to uni postgrad research scholarships - apparently changing them from grants to loans. But until I can find some details I'll assume that doesn't affect the RTS scheme, so hopefully won't affect me. The $186 million for research infrastructure *might* even be of indirect benefit to my research area.

4. The previsously announced extra 0.5% 'medicare levy' to fund the NDIS will be one of the biggest extra taxes that affect me.

Wading through the budget income and expense measures documents throws up some interesting tid-bits, such as the cost of implementing the tobacco plain packaging laws (including litigation costs) is marked as 'nfp' (not for publications), and the $8m expense in 2012-13 for an 'information campaign' regarding the "support available to families to assist with the costs of child care" and $10.0 million "to undertake a national advertising campaign to promote awareness of the Government's initiative, A Plan for Australian Jobs" ie. funding for some blanket advertising just before the federal election ;)

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