Amazingly, SMSF pensioners invested in Australian shares will be much worse off under the Labor franking policy than in the ‘bad old days’ when their pensions were taxed.
Tag Archives | dividend imputation
Australian retirees’ access to dividend imputation refunds justifies a bias towards Australian equities in retirement, and the loss of refunds will have significant portfolio and income implications.
When rules are changed, behaviour changes as well. A future Labor government should not be surprised when SMSF trustees and self-funded retires minimise the impact of the removal of imputation credit refunds.
Labor has been forced to exempt ‘pensioners’ from its franking credit refund policy, but the target remains the zero tax paid by large SMSFs in pension phase. That will sustain the class war.
The current system is fundamentally fair as domestic shareholders pay tax on fully franked dividends at their own tax rate. This is what imputation should achieve and why we need franking credits refunded.
Doubts about the value of franking credits under Labor’s proposed policy have already led to a rise in spreads on hybrids, which might throw up good investment opportunities.
The Labor proposal to eliminate refunds of excess franking credits will have a significant impact on many retirees who hold Australian shares paying fully franked dividends.
The Australian share market offers a dividend yield of about 4.2% at the moment, supported by franking credit of 1.5% to give an attractive 5.7%. The focus is on the refund of this credit.
Every day, an expert writes somewhere about the adverse impact of a reduction in franking credits due to a lower company tax rate. This tax rate has no impact on the after-tax returns received by Australian shareholders.
Imputation is seen as a costly tax break for domestic shareholders with minimal associated benefits for the overall economy, but any changes to the system should consider some broader consequences.
A question from one of our readers on whether the (delayed) Tax White Paper will result in changes to the dividend imputation and capital gains tax systems.
The super industry should have a jaundiced view of reductions in the existing company tax rate but, more than that, remain vigilant in protecting ‘dividend imputation’. And superannuation is about de-risking the future, so people should be encouraged to salary sacrifice in later life.