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Regulation, Retirement, Superannuation

Petition launched to fight franking credit changes

An online action group has joined the push against plans by the federal opposition to remove refundable dividend imputation credits for self-funded retirees, claiming the proposed move punishes people who have heeded calls to save for their own retirement.

Advance Australia said the proposal, first announced by federal opposition leader Bill Shorten in early 2018, was “facing backlash from Australia’s grey army of nearly 1.1 million self-funded retirees”.

The group’s national director, Gerard Benedet, said the proposal would affect more than 1 million self-funded retirees, including those on low incomes and those dependent on cash refunds from Australian shares.

“Labor’s policy statement makes it appear as though the new tax is about reducing tax concessions for millionaires, but, in fact, retirees set to be hit by the retiree tax aren’t the wealthy elite, but your average hard-working self-funded retiree,” Benedet noted, adding 84 per cent of those affected had taxable incomes below $37,000.

“What Labor is proposing is for Australia’s self-funded retirees to pay tax not once, but twice – meaning they will pay tax on already taxed company profits.”

He claimed the removal of franking credit refunds for self-funded retirees would eventually be extended to pensioners and would be used by a Labor government to make up for budget deficits.

“What Labor’s proposed legislation does is target ‘middle Australia’ by punishing people who have done the right thing and saved for retirement,” he noted.

“For years, Aussies have planned for retirement on the fair assumption that dividend imputation rules, which have historically shared support from both sides of politics, would support their retirement income.”

Advance Australia has launched an online petition seeking 10,000 signatures and at the time of writing 6500 people had signed the petition which calls for Shorten to drop the proposed new super tax laws.

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