Stimulus package — gone before we got it

26 04 2009

I’m the only one in our household to receive the $900 “Stimulus package” cheque from the Australian government, and it was all spent on Friday before I even received it!

We had to get 4 new tyres for my husband’s car and 2 for mine (there went $750+), and my husband has to have new prescription reading glasses (another $400+). We got home from getting the tyres fitted and there was my $900 cheque in the day’s mail. I had hoped to buy a new stove with it as the oven on the old one doesn’t work properly and can’t be repaired. But the tyre fitting people and the optician ended up being the recipients of Kevin’s largesse.

BTW, you don’t find out until later that there are a LOT of people who are NOT eligible for this $900 “Stimulus Package” payment. For example:

  • Self-funded retirees living solely off their retirement funds — even if those retirement funds are small — who don’t have a taxable income and therefore don’t pay tax (i.e. those over 60, and some under 60 whose Superannuation fund is tax free)
  • Pensioners and other welfare recipients (they don’t have a taxable income either)
  • Anyone under 18, even if they have a taxable income
  • Anyone with a taxable income over a certain amount ($100,000??) for the past tax assessment year
  • Anyone who didn’t submit a tax return last financial year

That eliminates a lot of people!

And I wonder if the $900 Stimulus Package was really just a con to get a helluva lot more people filing overdue tax returns. The media reports indicate that accountants and tax agents have been inundated with people trying to file before the deadline — in some cases, they haven’t filed a tax return for 10 years or more. No doubt many of these people have now filed so they can get their ‘free’ $900, but they haven’t received their tax bill or overdue penalty from the Tax Office yet. There could be a few nasty surprises in store — surprises that cost far more than the $900 they might or might not get.

The cynic in me says this was a very handy way for the Tax Office to ferret out all those people who have been lax in submitting a return, and all those younger people who just haven’t been bothered submitting a return since they started work. I suspect the Tax Office’s database (and therefore net) just got a little bigger…


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