Discussion on the Tax law in Australia

Tax law Australia

Assessable income

Income by individuals and businesses is earned from various activities such as self-employment, business income, salary or wages, and any other source of income. When the incomes are added up, they add up to assessable income (Kenny et al., 2018). According to Australian law, total income is the total amount of income earned by an individual that includes income from salary or wages, business, gratuity any other amount paid for services rendered or product sold, including allowances. Therefore, total assessable income is the total income earned by individuals and companies for the accounting period. Therefore, assessable income is all income that can be taxed which is above the individuals tax-free threshold.

Taxable income

This is the amount of income from where the taxes are deducted. The income could be business income or individual income that is subjected to tax computation. It is arrived at by adding all the assessable income and subtracting all allowable deductions (Saad, 2014). Allowable deductions are all legitimate expenses as defined in the tax law, which include an amount paid for something connected to the work or business where income is earned. Amounts deducted depend on the amount an individual or a corporation paid for a work-related expense or company-related expense during the tax year, such as a pension. The allowable deductions are also defined in the tax law (Kenny et al., 2018).

Tax Liability

This is the tax obligation of an individual or business towards the government. The individual or the company is obligated to pay a certain amount of tax to the tax authorities depending on the taxable income (Kenny et al., 2018). It is calculated as a percentage as determined by the Australian tax authorities. Tax liability then is a debt owed to the government, and the individual must pay the amount owed. It is an individual or business obligation to honor the tax liability failure to which there are penalties attached. There are various tax liabilities, including the earned income tax liability, self-employment tax liability, payroll tax liability, capital gains tax liability, and many others. Tax liabilities are binding, and all taxpayers must pay to avoid penalties (Saad, 2014).

Student loan (HECS)

This is a government scheme meant to assist students in paying for their tuition fees as the contribution amount. All eligible students get loans to pay for what they are expected to contribute, such as tuition fees during learning (Villios, 2019). The scheme is available in public universities though it can also be found scarcely in private universities. These loans are not subjected to taxes, although they are usually paid through the tax system then being repaid. The amount is deducted from the gross pay or gross income and delivered directly to the loan institution. This, therefore, reduces the table income and may reduce the amount of taxes to the government.

Medicare Levy

This is a tax paid by all taxpayers meant to assist the public medical system in Australia. It is a compulsory deduction paid by taxpayers to support the public health care system. Like income tax, the employer is deducted and remitted to the tax authorities (Saad, 2014). It is paid over and above the income tax paid to the tax authorities. One can apply for exemptions or reduction, but reduction eligibility or exemption is considered depending on circumstances.

Medicare Levy Surcharge

This is a levy charged to anyone or any household that does not have insurance health cover or those who earn a certain amount but do not have a health cover. It is charged over and above the Medicare levy (Villios, 2019). The purpose of the Medicare surcharge levy is to try and decongest the public health system as those contributing to the Medicare surcharge levy can use the private health facilities. However, suppose a household or an individual proves to own personal health insurance coverage. In that case, they are exempted from contributing to the Medicare surcharge levy. A taxpayer may be eligible for a private health insurance rebate, which I the amount the government contributes towards a personal health insurance plan for an individual, according to Section 251S of the Act (Saad, 2014).

What is ‘fringe benefit tax (FBT)? Explain at least five main salient features of the FBT?


Employees in organizations are entitled to compensation mostly paid in lump sum amounts (Krever & Mellor, 2016). They are expenses that organizations must bear to ensure that ensure the well-being of their employees. Therefore a fringe benefit is a payment by the employer to the employee or their employees family, which is different from salaries or wages such as retirement benefits, work compensations, etc. According to the provisions in the tax law, a tax referred to as Fringe Benefits Tax is levied on these benefits from the services. A percentage of the advantages is charged and remitted to the tax authorities (Ey, 2017). Therefore, the Fringe Benefits are incomes other than rewards and remuneration, enjoyed by all employees as a form of compensation for the services rendered by the employee. To employers, they are expenditures meant to benefit employees as compensation for the company’s services (Krever & Mellor, 2016). It is a surrogate tax, meaning that the employer incurs the surcharge while the employee enjoys the income. This form of tax applies to all employees who want the same benefits. It is not an income tax by a tax on expenditure.

Examples of Fringe benefits as defined by tax x law include

  • Paying for employees club memberships
  • Employee entertainment such as by use of free tickets to concerts
  • Offering discounted loans to employees
  • Reimbursements of personal expenses such as school fees
  • Use of company car for private affairs (Ey, 2017).

Five main salient features of the FBT

The main salient features of Fringe benefits are;

  1. The fringe benefit is not an allowable expenditure meaning that it has to attract a tax. This is because benefits are an income to the employee but not spending in that the employee had not paid for it in advance not to attract a tax levy. It is an income like any other, and therefore the employer has to deduct the tax and remit to the tax authorities (Villios, 2019).
  2. Fringe benefits tax has to be levied even if the employee did not have an income. This means that there are incidences when an employee may receive Fringe benefits in the absence of payment. The employer is obligated to remit Fringe Benefits Tax to the tax authorities (Krever & Mellor, 2016)
  3. Fringe Benefits Tax is calculated at a specified rate which is a percentage of the value of the benefits. The calculation of the tax as provided in Section 115Wc of the Income Tax Act 1961
  4. Fringe Benefit Tax is paid over and above income tax. If an employee has received their salary and, in addition, they have received an extra benefit, the tax on the service is charged independently as an additional tax to the income tax (Duncan et al., 2018). When the deduction is being calculated, the tax is levied differently from the income tax as it is charged on the value of the benefit.
  5. It is a tax payable by the employer on benefits earned by the employee, other than salary or wages. The employee may have made other benefits during employment which must be subjected to tax. The FBT is also subjected to gifts given by employers to the members of the employee family, such as worker’s compensation, retirement plans, gratuity, and many others (Villios, 2019).



Ey, C., 2017. Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) and other student loans: a quick guide.Parliament of Australia. Accessed,25.

Kenny, P., Blissenden, M. and Villios, S., 2018.Australian Tax 2018.

Krever, R. and Mellor, P., 2016. Australia, GAARsA Key Element of Tax Systems in the Post-BEPS World.GAARsA Key Element of Tax Systems in the Post-BEPS World (Amsterdam: IBFD, 2016), pp.45-64.

Saad, N., 2014. Tax knowledge, tax complexity and tax compliance: Taxpayers view.Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences,109, pp.1069-1075.

Villios, S., 2019. Australian Tax 2019 Authors: Kenny, P; Blissenden, M; Villios, S, 2018.Kenny, P.

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