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Tax literacy in Australia: Not knowing your deduction from your offset


In times of global economic uncertainty and in a climate of increased consumer responsibility for financial decisions, maintaining a financial environment where consumers are protected from risk and continue to have opportunities to create wealth should be critical for governments, business and administrators. The Australian Government has recognised that, for those with the lowest levels of financial literacy, specific financial literacy programs can equip them with the appropriate financial skills and knowledge to ensure they can make well informed decisions and be less vulnerable to scams and market risks.

One of the main aims of increasing the overall financial literacy of populations is creating an environment where consumers have the knowledge, skills and confidence to protect them from financial risk. It is argued that taxation consequences often play an important role in investment decisions and are often the primary reason why people seek assistance and advice from professionals. It is also argued that making poor taxation decisions through a lack of basic understanding can pose significant risks to a person’s overall financial position and financial decision?making. Indeed, Chardon has argued that the notion of financial capability should include notions of tax and superannuation. However, to what extent do Australians understand basic tax concepts, that is - what is their “tax literacy”?

Author profiles

Toni Chardon CTA
Toni works at University of Southern Queensland. - Current at 04 July 2016
Dr Brett Freudenberg CTA
Brett is a Professor – Taxation at Griffith University (Australia). Brett is known for his research expertise in the tax law and policy issues facing private enterprises, as evidenced by his Fulbright Scholarship (2006) and over 70 refereed publications in leading Australian and international journals. In 2020, he was awarded the national ATTA-Hill medal in recognition of outstanding contribution to Australasian tax policy and tax teaching. Professor Freudenberg’s research has analysed whether Australia should introduce a tax flow-through company, the tax treatment of discretionary trusts and the motivation for choice of business structure. His research has also considered the tax issues confronting private enterprises, reforms for enterprises in the arts sector, as well as to facilitate Islamic finance. Professor Freudenberg’s research has informed government policy as he was invited to present his PhD research findings to the Australian Treasury as part of the Henry Tax Review. Also his PhD was awarded the CCH-ATTA Doctoral Prize which saw it published as a book in 2011: Tax Flow-Through Companies. Brett is passionate about education being a transformative process, and his effectiveness as a teacher has been recognised through five national awards (including the award of two Australian Learning and Teaching Council citations: 2008 & 2011). - Current at 17 April 2020
Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Brett Freudenberg.
Mark Brimble
Mark works for the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, Griffith Business School, Griffith University.
Current at 1 July 2016


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