Budget 2022-23 October Update: Government, regulators & Economy

The ATO gets an extra $80m to extend its personal income tax compliance program, with $674m anticipated in increased receipts and over $80m in increased payments as a result.

ATO targets in sharp focus

Personal income tax deductions and incorrect reporting
The ATO will receive an additional $80.3 to crackdown on non-compliance including:

  • Overclaiming deductions; and
  • Incorrect reporting of income

The spend is expected to increase tax receipts by $674.4m and payment by $80.3m over 4 years.

Cash payments and tax evasion by business
The ‘shadow economy’, cash-in-hand payments including underpayment of wages, visa fraud, and other nefarious activity that deprives the economy of the income from tax receipts, will come under scrutiny with the extension of the ATO’s Shadow Economy Program for a further 3 years from 1 July 2023. Over this period, the program is estimated to increase tax receipts by $2.1bn and payments by $685.2m over the 4 years from 2022-23.

Multinational business and the Tax Avoidance Taskforce

The ATO’s Tax Avoidance Taskforce will receive an additional $200m over 4 years from 1 July 2022 primarily to pursue multinational enterprises and large public and private businesses. This taskforce is expected to deliver a whopping $2.8bn in additional tax receipts and $1.1bn in payments over the 4 year period.

$3.6bn cut from external labour, advertising, travel and legal expenses

The Government has committed to saving $3.6bn by cutting what it spends on external labour, advertising, travel and legal expenses

The economy

The Government appear keenly aware of the economic balancing act taking place, keeping the budget predominantly to election promises and redirecting existing initiatives to avoid exacerbating inflationary pressures. As the Treasurer said “Australians know this is a time of great challenge and change.”

The global economic environment has sharply deteriorated. Inflation has risen rapidly across
advanced economies. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has significantly driven up global energy costs and exacerbated the impact of poor weather on global food prices. All of this impacts on Australia. Here are the highlights:

GDP – Real GDP is forecast to grow by 3¼ per cent in 2022-23 before slowing to 1½ per cent in
2023-24, as cost of living pressures and rising interest rates increasingly weigh on household
disposable income and consumption.

The Government warn that with the highly uncertain global economic outlook, there are significant risks that could cause a sharper slowdown in domestic activity. Globally, key risks include a ‘hard landing’ or recession across major advanced economies, a sharper-than-expected downturn in China due to COVID-19 outbreaks and the property market downturn, a sudden tightening in financial market conditions and further energy price shocks stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which could drive inflation even higher.

And domestically, the full impact of recent floods is highly uncertain as the situation continues to develop.

Inflation – forecast to peak at 7¾ per cent in the December quarter of 2022. Supply disruptions have resulted in large price increases in home building, fuel and energy. Food prices remain elevated and have been further exacerbated by recent floods. Some of these pressures are expected to persist into 2023. Inflation is expected to remain elevated at 5¾ per cent over 2022-23 and 3½ per cent over 2023–24 before gradually easing and returning to within the Reserve Bank’s inflation target by 2024-25.

Deficit – lower the originally estimated at $36.9bn. However, the deficit is expected to climb to over $51bn by 2024-25 with the impact of higher inflation on indexed payments for services, the NDIS in particular.

Gross debt – is close to one trillion dollars and is at the highest level as a share of GDP in over 70 years.

Tax receipts - revised up by $54.4bn in 2022-23 and $142.0 billion over the 4 years to 2025-26.

Unemployment and wages growth - labour market conditions are expected to remain tight. The unemployment rate is forecast to
rise to 4½ per cent by the June quarter of 2024.

Tight labour market conditions are expected to see annual wage growth pick up to 3¾ per cent by June 2023. However, high inflation is
expected to see real wages fall over 2022-23 before rising slightly over 2023-24.

Energy - Electricity and gas prices are expected to rise sharply over the next 2 years, as the cost of energy market disruptions are passed through to households. Treasury has assumed retail electricity prices will increase by an average of 20% nationally in late 2022. Retail electricity prices are expected to rise by a further 30% in 2023-24.

Domestic gas prices remain more than double their average prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Retail prices are expected to increase by up to 20% in 2022-23 and 2023-24.