The 2014 Budget included a number of changes to levies, benefits and payments that could see you out of pocket. Here’s a breakdown of how you could be affected and when.
Deficit levy - from 1 July 2014
- A three-year temporary levy will kick in for high income earners from 1 July 2014. The Temporary Budget Repair Levy will apply a rate of 2% on individuals’ taxable income in excess of $180,000. This means that individuals with a taxable income of $200,000 will pay 2% of $20,000, or a levy of $400.
Petrol excise rise - from 1 August 2014
- Aussies will pay more for petrol as the fuel excise, which is currently set at 38.1 cents a litre, will now rise with inflation twice a year. This is expected to add about 1 cent a litre to the pump price each year.
Family benefit changes - from 1 July 2015
- Family Tax Benefit B will be cut for families when the youngest child turns six and is at school. The income limit for accessing this benefit will now be $100,000 for the primary income earner, down from $150,000, making fewer families eligible.
- The current paid parental leave scheme will be expanded to provide 26 weeks of pay at the replacement wage of the primary carer up to an income of $100,000 and will include superannuation.
- Adult children are also likely to require more family assistance as the age of eligibility for Newstart is being raised to 25. Those under 25 will have to wait six months before they can access Youth Allowance, while job seekers under the age of 30 will also have to wait six months until they can access Newstart and will then only be eligible for payments for six months at a time.
Disability benefit changes - over five years from 2013-14
- The Government is changing disability pension requirements with a focus on returning those with any capacity for employment back to the workforce. Compulsory activities for Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients under 35 years of age with an assessed work capacity of eight hours or more a week are being brought in.
Medicare co-payment - 1 July 2015
- A payment of $7 has been introduced for patients going to see a GP, which drops out after 10 visits a year for concession card holders and children under 16.
- Hospitals will be allowed to charge people visiting hospital emergency departments for attendances that only require a visit to the GP.
- Medicines will also become more expensive with patients paying an additional $5 in pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS) co-payments.
Super and the Age Pension - from 1 July 2014
- The schedule for increasing the super guarantee (SG) rate to 12% will change meaning that from 1 July this year, SG will increase from 9.25% to 9.5% and remain there until 30 June 2018 before rising each year to reach 12% in 2022-23.
- Individuals who breach the non-concessional cap on excess super contributions will be allowed to withdraw those excess contributions and any earnings without any excess contributions tax.
- The age at which you can access the Age Pension will increase from 2025 by six months every two years to reach 70 by 2035.
- The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card will be harder to qualify for with untaxed super income to be included in the income test. Income thresholds for the card will now be indexed annually to CPI rather than being fixed and the seniors supplement (currently $876.20 a year for singles) will go.