NOT HAPPY: Stephen Taylor at the town hall meeting in Bundaberg.
NOT HAPPY: Stephen Taylor at the town hall meeting in Bundaberg. Mike Knott BUN210119BILL6

'HARSH': Bundy man to lose 14 per cent income under Shorten

A BARGARA man fears he will lose 14 per cent of his income if Bill Shorten becomes the next prime minister of Australia.

In 1975, Stephen Taylor, 67, came to Australia with $500 in his pocket. He and his wife Linda worked hard for almost four decades, him in the coal mines and her in the school system, saving every cent they earned.

But now that they've been retired for six years and have gradually been using up their savings, Mr and Mrs Taylor could lose a significant chunk of the money that makes life for them so comfortable.

"I do think it's harsh ... I know there's only about 240,000 people in Australia who will lose money, but I don't think it's really fair," Mr Taylor told Mr Shorten at a forum in Bundaberg on Monday.

The risk of Mr Taylor losing some of his income grows each day, as the election looms.

In March, Mr Shorten announced his plan to ban cash tax refunds for excess franking credits. Labor's promise means excess franking credits, which are a result of paying too much tax for the amount of taxable income a person earns, will not be refunded to taxpayers.

The policy addresses Bob Hawke and Paul Keating's franking credits, or dividend imputation system, created in 1987 to allow investors to reduce the income tax they pay when the companies they own shares in give them a dividend.

It also aims to reverse a change brought in by John Howard and Peter Costello in 2001, which allowed shareholders to get a refund on their dividend tax paid by companies they own shares in, even if they themselves hadn't paid tax.

"We are the only country in the world who gives you a tax refund for not paying tax," Mr Shorten told Bundy residents.

"It's a payment from the government, so when people say they're not getting anything from the government, well actually you are."

But Mr Taylor argued he'd never taken any money and had never qualified for a pension because of his assets.

"He (Mr Shorten) said that I was getting the money off the government, but what he forgets is that that money goes to the tax department first. They then hold it, give back what they owe me and only then what's left goes to the government, so it's not really theirs until that moment," he said.

Mr Taylor said a third of the money he and Mrs Taylor lived on each year came from shares.

"We have super, money in the bank and shares," he said.

"And then an eighth of that comes back through tax."

Mr Taylor said he used "three legs - super, a share portfolio and money - as income because that's what Mr Keating and Mr Hawke told his generation to do.

"I don't understand how in 1976 you're allowed to do something, and then it all changes. I feel like you can't keep changing the law just to suit yourself at that moment.

"I'm going to lose money."



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