Has Treasury mucked up its super sums, again?

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It sounds like the person(s) at Treasury responsible for this irresponsible behaviour should be moved aside. Isn't their job to provide the facts and present them to the Minister in a balanced and transparent form. Who is sanctioning these "games" and who are they working for? Clearly not the taxpayers who pay for them. It baffles me how these people seem so disconnected with the real world. Well, at least, I don't read the Fin Review anymore.

Pete,Canberra,I have decided,is a virtual world run by beings on another planet with a wicked sense of humour.It is too absurd to exist in the real world.
See my hero the late Douglas Adams.

The ATO/Treasury I believe are required to report a value for tax "concessions." My accountant keeps track of the "concession" for when the capital purchase that triggered depreciation requirement went from $300 to todays $1,000 (keeping track of this at my expense, I might add). It is all in the presentation and spin of it all. Treasury could just say this is the concession valuet for each category of concession based on such and such rules, and also with listing of any assumptions. Or, it could be presented as certain groups getting away with murder. My inclination is that the press has some blame in the presentation game here, as it is not in their DNA to report a straight story, but to spin and hype it up into something it is not to try to draw in readers.

And in terms of Treasury figuring out all the consequences for if there is no concession - into kind of an annual cost/benefit analysis - this becomes a hole lot more difficult and more open to subjectivity.

I am missing this part of the concession reporting that, in my opinion, should be mandatory: the cost of the concession for Parliamentary and government worker super.

Regardless of which numbers are used, the implications are clear that super will end up on the chopping block - we just don't know whether this will be in May this year or next year, or even the year after.

My guess is that retirees will see lump sum withdrawals and pension streams capped at - let's say 10% of the member's account value and that super withdrawals/pensions lose their tax-free status.

As a recent retiree, I was quite happy to draw down the minimum amount from my super account each year to ensure that my money would last me for my life time. However, with all the talk from Treasury about the "cost" of super (but none of the savings) as well as vitriolic comments from members of the Y Generation, I have reached the conclusion that I do not want to spend my retirement years worrying about what changes the government might do to superannuation. The restrictions imposed on super are only acceptable as a trade-off for tax concessions, remove those and benefits of super evaporate very quickly.

So I have made the decision to wind up my SMSF before budget night, pay off my mortgage and invest the rest in my own name. Even if this means that I will pay a small amount of tax, I won't have to pay the $500 or so supervisory levy to the ATO and company registration fee to ASIC, nor will I have to pay to have my super fund audited each year.

Given the size of the deficit the only thing that'll plug it is the removal of negative gearing. Sure the govt can save 5B or so by fiddling the super rules but that's a drop in the ocean. Furthermore, while super isn't perfect, most recognise it as good public policy that most of the rest of the world with its trillions in pension liabilities look on with envy. In contrast, all negative gearing appears to have accomplished is a housing bubble. It's prevented most young people from owning their own homes at the expense of overseas investors looking for capital gains. Also, its made a real contribution to killing off manufacturing jobs. The RBA wants to lower interest rates and the AUD but can't because they have to contain the housing bubble.

The so called negative gearing statistics which are trotted out are far more dodgy than the superannuation figures.For starters the Australian Taxation Office doesnt differentiate in tax returns between residential ,retail,industrial or office space rentals on tax returns:nor mixed properties such as a shop with a flat upstairs.So what people believe they are quoting as negative gearing for houses is a mixture. Secondly the quantum of tax deuctions claimed on the one hand is never matched with the extra tax paid by lenders,mainly banks on the interest income that they recieve. Until there are real statistics available commentary on the extent and supposed impact of negative gearing of houses is illinformed.

Surprise...surprise...surprise.

Any discussion of superannuation tax concessions must take into account the future impact on pensions.

So, as well as SUM one and SUM two, and a combined properly calculated SUM one and SUM tow, we also need a SUM three - the impact on pension payments. Surely our well resourced Treasury could do this as well.

Interestingly, Keatings superannuation has been a massive success for Australia, with the latest figures indicating that the total invested is now equal to GDP.

Perhaps Steve Keen should put that in his forecasting pipe and smoke it, and come up with a revised doomsday scenario for the Australian housing industry now that Superannuation is now larger than our domestic housing debt.

Why not this super product: You just open a super share trading account as you would with a super fund - without the need of corporate structure and accountant/bookkeeper/ASIC "pigs at the trough." Yes there would have to be some extra tax handling such as contributions etc yet this would just attract a fee from the account provider. They do this in other countries.

Also another yardstick against the "concession" value of super is what other countries are doing - and why must such comparisons always focus on near failed socialists states of Europe.

One of the huge benefits of superannuation is the extent to which Australians through the superannuation system have bought and continue to buy up shares in our major companies such that our major companies are overwhelmingly Australian owned with the exception of a couple of dual listings.We are effectively buying back the farm.Our national propensity to save has beem hugely enhanced since the expansion of superannuation by Paul Keating and this impacts directly into foreign debt and credit ratings.