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$1080 tax cuts: Scott Morrison won’t rule out extending low and middle income offset

Millions of Aussies have scored free cash in the past year – now Prime Minister Scott Morrison has offered a tantalising hint about more money.

One of the most popular additions to this year’s Federal Budget could be could make a return next year, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison refusing to rule out the possibility of another round of tax cuts for millions of Aussies.

Mr Morrison unveiled his plan for Australia’s economic recovery during an interview with the Saturday Herald Sun, outlining his next steps if he is re-elected next year.

While the PM refused to be drawn on whether he would once again extend the tax cuts for low and middle income earners, he did point out that delivering tax cuts was “always our approach”.

“We’ve got a very strong record of delivering tax cuts,” Mr Morrison said.

“If you really want people and business to get on and do things, you can’t keep more of what they earn, it has to go back the other way.”

The $1080 tax cuts for millions of Australians is due to expire on June 20, 2022.

Mr Morrison also told the publication he planned to bring back skilled migration to pre-pandemic levels, offer cheaper and better electrical appliances to help households move away from gas and help with Australia’s net zero commitment and ramp up efforts to allow quarantine-free travel to Bali – possibly before Christmas.

With the date of next year’s election still not known, senior government sources told the Herald Sun that a decision on tax cuts was yet to be made internally, with the government having to try and find the sweet spot between reining in spending while also boosting Australia’s economic recovery.

The temporary tax rebate, known as “The Lamington” because of its acronym LMITO (Lower Middle Income Tax Offsets), was due to be phased out this year, but was extended in light of the hardships caused by the pandemic.

During the 2021 Federal Budget, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed the Morrison government would extend the low and middle income tax offset at a cost of more than $7 billion.

The rebate is worth up to $1080 for singles earning under $126,000 and $2160 for couples on low and middle incomes.

These cuts are paid as a lump sum to eligible Aussies when they file their tax returns.

“We believe in lower taxes,” Mr Frydenberg told news.com.au in May.

“We’ve delivered lower taxes, as you know, in the last four budgets we’ve progressively announced significant tax cuts.”

The Treasurer also stuck to his guns on the Stage 3 tax cuts, which are currently scheduled to deliver massive tax reductions for higher income earners in 2024.

“Stage Three has been legislated, we look forward to hearing from the opposition, whether they’re going to stick to Stage 3,’’ Mr Frydenberg said.

“And the last year’s budget we brought forward Stage 2 by a couple of years and extended the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (LMITO) for another year.

“The whole purpose of those three stages was to effectively lock in the LMITO in a structural way.”

He said this would see people in the low and middle income bracket “substantially better off on a permanent basis”.

“So, if you look at what happens in 2024-25, which is when Stage 3 is being implemented, someone on 45k will be $1080 better off permanently, compared to what they would have been in 2017-18.

“Stage 3 maintains the progressivity of where our tax policy has been. The top five per cent of income earners, still paying about a third of the overall tax burden.”

Hint election date could be announced soon

Mr Morrison’s pre-campaign tour last week could be a sign an announcement on the Federal election date is looming.

The PM embarked on a week-long publicity trip across Victoria and NSW on Monday, hoping to draw voters’ attention away from the blunders of the French submarine deal and towards Australia’s strong post-pandemic economic recovery.

Mr Morrison is struggling to win support from Aussie voters, with the latest Newspoll indicating the Coalition would experience a resounding defeat if an election was held today.

While there is no possibility an election can be held this year, the PM’s trip last week is likely an early indicator of what‘s to come in an expected six months of campaigning.

Key government figures have been pressed for more details all week as to when the election would be called but have remained tight-lipped.

The last possible day an election can be held is May 21.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton gave the best clue yet on Friday morning that a May election is looking increasingly likely.

“I think it’s another six months, so buckle up,” he told Nine.

“We live in a great democracy. You should celebrate it,” he said.

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