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Australia’s stage three tax cuts: what does it mean for you?

As the Australian government continues to refine its fiscal policies, the stage three tax cuts have emerged as a significant area of focus, sparking widespread discussion and debate. These sweeping changes to the income tax system will impact millions of taxpayers nationwide, prompting a need for clear understanding and analysis.

Here, we’ll delve into the intricacies of the Australian stage three tax cuts, exploring their origins, the proposed revisions, and most importantly, what these changes mean for you — the Australian taxpayer. 

The backdrop: the original stage three tax cuts

The stage three tax cuts were initially introduced by the former Liberal government in 2019 as the third phase of a broader income tax restructuring plan. 

The primary objective was to offset the impact of “bracket creep,” a phenomenon in which rising incomes push workers into higher tax brackets, resulting in a higher proportion of their income being taxed despite no real increase in their purchasing power.

The original stage three tax cuts blueprint envisioned several key changes:

  • Abolition of the 37% Marginal Tax Rate: The 37% marginal tax rate, which previously applied to income between $120,001 and $180,000, was to be eliminated. 
  • Reduction of the 32.5% Tax Rate: The 32.5% tax rate, applicable to income between $45,001 and $120,000, was slated to be reduced to 30%. 
  • Expansion of the 30% Tax Bracket: The income range for the 30% tax rate was to be expanded, encompassing earnings between $45,000 and $200,000. 
  • Retention of the 45% Tax Rate: The 45% tax rate for income above $200,000 was to remain unchanged.

These proposed changes were intended to simplify the tax system and relieve a broader range of taxpayers, particularly those in the middle-income bracket. However, the plan faced significant criticism, as it was perceived to benefit higher-income earners disproportionately.

The revised stage three tax cuts: a shift in priorities

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In an unexpected move, the Albanese government, led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, announced a recalibration of the stage three tax cuts from 1st July 2024. The revised proposal addressed the concerns raised about the original plan, focusing on providing relief to low and middle-income taxpayers.

Reduction in the 19% tax rate

The 19% tax rate, applicable to income between $18,201 and $45,000, has been reduced to 16%. This change is expected to benefit those in the lower-income bracket, saving them $804 on their annual tax bill.

Lowering of the 32.5% tax rate

The 32.5% tax rate, which previously applied to income between $45,001 and $120,000, has been reduced to 30%. This adjustment aligns with the original plan’s proposal, but the income range has been expanded to include earnings up to $135,000.

Retention of the 37% tax rate

Contrary to the original plan, the 37% tax rate has been retained, but the threshold it applies has been increased from $120,001 to $135,001. This means that individuals earning between $135,001 and $190,000 will now be subject to the 37% marginal tax rate.

Adjustment to the 45% tax rate

The 45% tax rate, which was previously applied to income above $180,000, has been adjusted to apply to earnings above $190,000. This change ensures that the top marginal tax rate remains in place but with a slightly higher income threshold.

The impact: who will benefit & by how much?

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The revised stage three tax cuts have been designed to strike a more equitable balance, providing relief to low and middle-income earners while offering tax savings to higher-income individuals.

Low and middle-income earners

Taxpayers earning less than $150,000 annually will generally receive a larger tax cut under the revised plan than the original stage three proposal. For example:

  • A person earning $80,000 per year will now receive a tax cut of $1,679, up from the initially proposed $875. 
  • Those earning $50,000 will see a tax reduction of $929, a significant increase from the original $125.

Higher-income earners

Individuals with taxable incomes above $150,000 will see a smaller tax cut under the revised plan. For instance:

  • A person earning $200,000 will now receive a tax cut of $4,529, down from the initially proposed $9,075. 
  • Those with an income of $180,000 will see a reduction of $3,729, compared to the original $6,075.

Broader implications & considerations

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The changes to the stage three tax cuts have far-reaching implications for more than just the individual taxpayer. Let’s explore some of the broader considerations.

Cost-of-living relief

The revised tax cut plan prioritises low and middle-income earners, aiming to provide much-needed cost-of-living relief. As inflationary pressures and rising expenses continue to squeeze household budgets, these targeted tax savings can help ease the financial burden on hard-working families.

Economic impact

In their original and revised forms, the stage three tax cuts are expected to impact the Australian economy significantly. While the overall cost of the package remains similar, the redistribution of benefits could influence consumer spending patterns, potentially affecting various industries and sectors.

Political landscape

The government’s decision to revise the stage three tax cuts has not been without controversy. The move was initially seen as a breach of the Labor Party’s pre-election promise to keep the legislated tax cuts unchanged. However, the government has defended its position, citing the changing economic landscape and the need to provide more equitable support to most taxpayers.

Ongoing debate and future considerations

The stage three tax cuts will likely remain a subject of ongoing discussion and debate, both within the political arena and among tax experts and the general public. As the economic landscape continues to evolve, further adjustments or refinements to the tax system may be considered in the future.

Embracing the evolving tax landscape

While the changes have not been without their share of controversy, the revised tax plan aims to strike a more equitable balance, providing tangible benefits to low and middle-income earners who have been disproportionately impacted by the rising cost of living.

As you navigate this evolving tax landscape, it’s crucial to stay informed, utilise the available resources, and seek professional guidance to ensure you maximise the benefits and opportunities of the stage three tax cuts.

Contact the Elliot Watson Financial Planners team for a more comprehensive understanding of the tax changes and their implications. We can provide tailored advice and assistance in optimising your tax planning strategies.


The information (including taxation) in this website does not consider your personal circumstances and is of a general nature only – unless otherwise stated. You should not act on the information provided without first obtaining professional advice specific to your circumstances.

Elliot Watson Financial Planning Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative of RI Advice Group Pty Ltd, ABN 23 001 774 125 AFSL 238429.

Elliot Watson

Elliot Watson is an award-winning Certified Financial Planner with over 15 years' experience. He is passionate about helping people grow and protect their wealth.

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