Targeting the tax breaks for superannuation

The numbers for superannuation tax breaks are dizzying. They cost the Commonwealth budget somewhere between $20 billion and $30 billion a year depending on how you count them. Grattan Institute’s work in Balancing Budgets suggested specific reforms that could save up to $8 billion a year. A forthcoming Grattan Institute publication will work through the options in detail.

Meanwhile, superannuation tax breaks are in the news. After being ruled out by the Abbott government, they are back on the table in tax reform discussions being led by the Turnbull government. There are any number of competing proposals for change – including many from the industry itself.

In this Forward Thinking event at the State Library of NSW, Danielle Wood and Brendan Coates from Grattan Institute discussed the issues with Joanna Mather, who covers tax and superannuation for the Australian Financial Review. What is the purpose of superannuation tax breaks? What criteria should be used in analysing competing proposals for change? What changes would minimise the economic impacts, improve budget balances, be fair, and remain administratively workable?

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