Showing posts with label taxation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label taxation. Show all posts

Friday, 11 May 2018

Entrenching inequality in the Australian way of life


There are no real winners in this 2018-19 federal budget – everyone loses something because funding/staffing cuts include services which affect the smooth running of the country, such as regulatory oversight, law, policing and communication. 

Partial winners in the longterm are those in the two highest income/asset deciles. The Anthony Pratts, Gina Rineharts, 'Twiggy' Forrests, Bruce Mathiesons, Malcolm Turnbulls and Peter Duttons of this world.

Those losing the most are low income households, especially those dependent on welfare payments and those with an annual  salary/wage between $41,000 to $87,000 because they will be assessed under the same tax rate as now but with less of the tax benefit pie on their plates in the future.


Federal Budget 2018 Facts of Life - a non-exhaustive list

* Funding in this budget does not fully compensate for funding cuts and tax increases in the last three federal budgets.

* Cuts from previous budgets are still impacting on health services; education funding for schools and vocational studies have been reduced by a combined total of $17.27 billion, funds for the public broadcaster are frozen representing a loss of $84 million on top of $254 million in budget cuts since 2014.1

* Cuts are also occurring in:

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) with permanent funding  cut from $346 million to $320 million over two years and staff numbers reduced by 30 investigators in the next year.

Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions with funding cut from $77.4 million to $73.75 million in two years.

The Australian Federal Police funding cut from $1.03 billion to $926 million within four years.2

* Although the federal government is contributing $43 billion, to fund what it calls its “share” of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) from 2018–19 to 2021–22, there is still no dedicated funding stream for NDIS.

* Rural, regional and remote area health is only receiving 16.66 million a year for five years to improve health outcomes in those areas across Australia – none of which appears to go directly to treatment of patients or additional services.

* Personal income tax cuts aren’t being offered to those on taxable incomes below $20,548 per annum. Those workers with a taxable income of $20,548 will receive $1 a year in income tax relief. It is reported that the full range of personal income tax relief (which provides the most benefit to the highest earners) will eventually cost est. $17.8 billion annually in lost government revenue if scheme continues until 2027.3

* Individuals earning $100,000 to $125,330 per annum now receive a low and middle income income tax offset despite being in high wage/salary deciles.

* There are estimated 101,508 older Australians on the waiting list for appropriate home care packages.4 At least 60,000 of these do not have even the initial lowest level of home care package and, all the federal government is offering is funding for an extra 14,000 high level packages still leaving 46,000 elder people with no hope of receiving assistance in the foreseeable future to keep living at home.

* There is a proposal to change the progressive tax system from 2018-19 so there are only four income tax brackets and people with incomes from $41,000 to $200,000 per annum will pay the same tax rate. This means that est. 62 per cent of future benefits would go to the highest salary/wage earners with only 7 per cent going to those on the lowest wage.
According to Budget Strategy and Outlook Budget Paper No. 1 2018-19; When completed, the plan ensures that about 94 per cent of taxpayers are projected to face a marginal tax rate of 32.5 per cent or less in 2024–25.

* People over retirement age receiving the Age Pension are being urged to consider funding part of their retirement through the Pension Loans Scheme which will be expanded on 1 July 2019, with the available fortnightly loan plus pension amount increasing to 150 per cent of the maximum rate of fortnightly Age Pension. The current maximum fortnightly pension amount is $907.60. This loan will normally be repaid when the secured real estate asset (usually the principal home) is sold or from the pensioner’s deceased estate.6

* This budget continues the funding model which skews federal primary and highschool funding towards private schools via the Quality Schools scheme with funding for government schools set at $7.6 billion and non-government schools at $11.8 billion in 2018-19 increasing to $9.6 billion and 13.8 billion in 2021-22 .7

* The Northern Territory remote area Aboriginal children and schooling component has been cut by over $47 million across the next four financial years.

*TAFE further technical education funding has been cut by $270 million on top of previous budget cuts.

* The Goods and Services Tax has been extended to cover online hotel bookings made via offshore websites. This is expected to raise $5 million in the 2019-20 financial year.

* Mobile blackspot program funding ceases in 2019.8

* The cashless debit card trial in Ceduna (South Australia) and East Kimberley (Western Australia) will be extended for another year to 30 June 2019. The federal government refuses to make the costs of this measure public.

* Part or all of a welfare payment will be withheld to clear a welfare recipients court fines or address arrest warrants.

* There has been no increase in unemployment benefits.

* Women & girls necessary sanitary products are still subject to a consumption tax payable at the supermarket/chemist checkout.

* Finally, the Turnbull Government cracked a joke in the budget papers – a new National Energy Guarantee is expected to reduce annual residential power bills by $400 at some unspecified date in the future.9

Footnotes:





Thursday, 10 May 2018

Before everyone gets too excited about those personal tax cuts in Budget 2018-19


According to the Turnbull Government Budget 2018-19 papers, eligibility for the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (aka personal income tax cut) will assist over 10 million Australians, with about 4.4 million taxpayers with incomes between $48,000 and $90,000 receiving the full $530 benefit for 2018–19.

The non-refundable offset is calculated ontaxable incomewhich is “equal to an individual’s assessable income (such as salary and wages and interest from bank accounts) minus their allowable deductions”.

The announced ‘tax cut’ has a life of four financial years and technically ceases after 2021-22. 

It will not see actual tax rates change and will not see the dollar amount in wages paid on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis alter.

The 'tax cut' will be applied by the Australian Taxation Office and form part of any tax refund due after tax returns are lodged in 2019.

The bottom line is that any person with a taxable income of less than $20,548 will not receive the announced personal tax cut according to the Budget 2018-19 website income tax calculator.

Those with a taxable income of est. $20,548 on 30 June 2019 will receive exactly one dollar a year as a ‘tax cut’ for the next four years.

One would have a taxable income of est. $21,600 to get a ‘tax cut’ of $200 a year for the next four years.

However the first $18,200 of any individual’s personal income is currently exempt from taxation.


Hopefully for the purposes of calculating any tax refund the budget measure includes in "taxable income" the first $18,200 on which no tax is payable.

Otherwise this budget measure means that anyone with an annual wage of $38,747 ($18,200 tax exempt + $20,547 taxable income) will not receive the announced ‘tax cut’ for low and middle income earners.

There is nothing found in Budget Measures Budget Paper No. 2 2018-19 or on the Budget 2018-19 website which clarifies the situation.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Elder abuse and profit shifting go hand-in-hand in the age care sector?


Any regular reader of online news would have seen mentions of elder abuse, neglect and sub-standard health care over the years.


Elder abuse is a critical issue in aged care homes, with thousands of cases reported to the Health Department every year…. In 2016-2017, there were 2853 reports of “reportable assaults’’ and 2463 allegations of “unreasonable use of force”.

Australian Law Reform Commission, Elder Abuse (DP 83), Abuse and neglect in aged care, 12 December 2016:

1.34   Stakeholders reported many instances of abuse of people receiving aged care. These included reports of abuse by paid care workers[55] and other residents of care homes[56] as well as by family members and/or appointed decision makers of care recipients.[57] For example, Alzheimer’s Australia provided the following examples of physical and emotional abuse:

When working as a PCA [personal care assistant] in 2 high care units, I witnessed multiple, daily examples of residents who were unable to communicate being abused including: PCA telling resident to ‘die you f---ing old bitch!’ because she resisted being bed bathed. Hoist lifting was always done by one PCA on their own not 2 as per guidelines and time pressures meant PCAs often using considerable physical force to get resistive people into hoists; resident not secured in hoist dropped through and broke arm—died soon after; residents being slapped, forcibly restrained and force-fed or not fed at all; resident with no relatives never moved out of bed, frequently left alone for hours without attention; residents belongings being stolen and food brought in by relatives eaten by PCAs.[58]

1.35   The ALRC also received reports of other forms of abuse, including sexual[59] and financial abuse.[60] Restrictions on movement[61] and visitation[62] were also reported. Many submissions also identified neglect of care recipients.[63]

The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 October 2017:

Across NSW, 58 per cent of aged care workers surveyed said they have not been able to provide the level of care residents deserved because of budget cuts. Of those, 80 per cent said staff shortages were the main barrier to providing proper care.

The Courier-Mail, 19 April 2018: 

PROFIT-HUNGRY aged care companies are charging fat “administration fees” to skim up to 40 per cent of government payments for in-home nursing care.

More than 100,000 elderly Australians are on a waiting list to receive as much as $50,000 a year in a “homecare package” to pay for nursing, housekeeping or companionship at home. But an investigation by The Courier-Mail has revealed that some home-care companies are pocketing as much as $19,000 of the taxpayer cash through hefty “administration” or “case management” fees.

The fees are billed on top of hourly charges for home help – leaving clients with less cash to spend on in-home care such as nursing. And if clients want to switch to a cheaper provider, they are being slugged up to $1000 in “exit fees”.

The Age, 3 May 2018:

Scandals, including a recent national audit showing 600 aged-care homes failed in the past five years to provide minimum standards, prompted a government review. The Coalition, accepting a key recommendation, has ended the ridiculous practice of alerting operators to spot checks. The review also urged the streamlining and strengthening of the regulator.

If one does a simple online search many of the big ‘for profit’ aged care providers are named in relation to such abuse, neglect and sub-standard health care allegations.

Now in May 2018 the Tax Justice Network[1]  is looking at aged care provision from another angle. One which shows that the budgetary meanness which sees these big companies expect elderly residents to remain in sodden incontinence pads or live-off meagre meal rations occurs in spite of the millions in profit made on the back of billions in taxpayer funding of the age care sector.

It has released A Tax Justice Network – Australia Report, TAX AVOIDANCE BY FOR-PROFIT AGED CARE COMPANIES: PROFIT SHIFTING ON PUBLIC FUNDS.

Sadly, this report only confirms the fact that corporate greed runs rampant through all major aspects of Australian life, including aged care.

Executive Summary, Background, p.5:

Older people are a growing proportion of Australia’s population; in 2016, 15% (one in seven) Australians were aged 65 years or older. By 2056 this percentage is expected to grow to 22% (8.7 million).1 The need for aged care services is increasing. Between 2015– 2016 almost 214,000 people entered aged care in Australia. On average, older people in Australia spend three years in permanent residential care, just over two years in home care, and one and a half months in respite care.2 The Australian tax payer, via the Commonwealth Government contributes around 75% of the expenditure in aged care in Australia, which is around 96% of the total funding on aged care from Commonwealth and State Governments. Government recurrent spending on aged care services in Australia was $17.4 billion Australian dollars (AUD) in 2016- 2017, with residential aged care services accounting for 69.3% ($12.1 billion AUD).3 Some of this funding is provided as subsidies to aged care provider companies including those that operate for profit. In 2018 the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), Australia’s largest national professional and industrial nursing and midwifery organisation with over 268,500 members, commissioned the Tax Justice Network - Australia to analyse possible tax avoidance by for-profit aged care companies and to provide recommendations for improving transparency on Government spending on for-profit aged care.

Key points from the report

* By number of beds, not-for-profit providers are the largest aged care provider group in Australia (52% in 2013-2014), however there has been a rapid growth in the size and spread of for-profit companies; Bupa, Opal, Regis and Estia are the largest aged care providers nationally. If Japara and Allity are included, these 6 for-profit companies operate over 20% of residential aged care beds in Australia.

* In the most recent year (mostly the 2017 financial year) the six largest for-profit companies were given over $2.17 billion AUD via government subsidies. This was 72% of their total revenue of over $3 billion. These companies also reported profits of $210 million AUD (2016-2018).

* Companies can use various accounting methods to avoid paying tax. One method is when a company links (staples) two or more businesses (securities) they own together, each security is treated separately for tax purposes to reduce the amount of tax the company has to pay. Aged care companies are known to use this method as well as other tax avoiding practices. Another practice is by “renting” their aged care homes from themselves (one security rents to another) or by providing loans between securities and shareholders.

* The six largest for-profit aged care providers have enormous incomes and profits:

* The largest company, BUPA, had almost $7.5 billion in total income in Australia (2015-16) but paid only $105 million in tax on a taxable income of only $352 million.
* BUPA’s Australian aged care business made over $663 million in 2017 and over 70% ($468 million) of this was from government funding.
* Funding from government and resident fees increased in 2017, but BUPA paid almost $3 million less to their employees and suppliers.
* The second largest, Opal, had total income of $527.2 million in 2015-16 but paid only $2.4 million in tax on a taxable income of only $7.9 million.
* 76% ($441 million) was from government funding in 2016.

* Allity had total income of $315.6 million in 2015-16 and paid no tax.
* 67% ($224 million) of Allity’s revenue was from government funding in 2016-17.

* Regis, Estia, and Japara are listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) but appear to be using methods to reduce the amount of tax they pay while earning large profits from over $1 billion of government subsidies.

* Family owned aged care companies (Arcare, TriCare, and Signature) receive between $42-$160 million each in annual government subsidies but provide very little public information on their operations and financial performance and may use accounting methods to avoid paying tax.

 * (All figures quoted above are in AUD)

* The Australian Government and the Federal Opposition (the Australian Labor Party) have proposed several ways to fix the problems with companies avoiding tax by using trust structures and other methods but there are still loopholes.

* It is difficult to get a detailed and complete picture of the full extent to which these heavily subsidised aged care companies are avoiding paying as much tax as they should, because Australian law is not currently strong enough to ensure that their financial records and accounting practices are publicly available and fully transparent.

Conclusion

The six largest for-profit aged care providers in Australia received over $2.17 billion AUD in annual tax payer funded subsidies which provided after tax profits of $210 million AUD. The actual operating profits were much larger. These providers only paid around $154 million AUD in tax in 2015-16. Companies that receive millions of tax payer dollars via Australian government subsidies must be required by law to meet higher standards of transparency in financial reports and be publicly accountable. The report calls upon the Government, Opposition, and cross-bench Senators to work together to make laws to stop aged care providers from avoiding the taxes they should pay and provide clear records of their business dealings.

The Tax Justice Network – Australia strongly supports recent government legislation that has been introduced to close loopholes in the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law and government reforms to stapled structures. However, there is still a need for additional transparency measures. The Tax Justice Network – Australia also strongly supports a policy proposed by the Australian Labor Party to introduce minimum taxation of discretionary trusts. These reform measures are examined in more detail by this report in the section: Current Reform Measures.

This analysis of tax payments and corporate structures of the largest for-profit aged care companies provides clear evidence that simple common-sense reforms are needed immediately to restore integrity to the tax system and to ensure public accountability on billions of dollars in government spending.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE REPORT

Any company that receives Commonwealth funds over $10 million in any year must file complete audited annual financial statements with Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in full compliance with all Australian Accounting Standards and not be eligible for Reduced Disclosure Requirements. Public and private companies must fully disclose all transactions between trusts or similar parties that are part of stapled structures or similar corporate structures where most or all income is earned from a related party and where operating income is substantially reduced by lease and/or finance payments to related parties with beneficial tax treatment.

Australia’s Largest For-Profit Aged Care Companies

In Australia, non-profit providers collectively operate a majority of residential aged care beds. However, the market share of large for-profit providers continues to grow rapidly. Likewise, the influence of for profit providers on shaping government policy and influencing broader trends in the aged care sector has never been greater. Ranked by the number of government allocated residential aged care places (beds) in 2017, the six largest for-profit aged care companies in Australia are; Bupa, Opal, Regis, Estia, Japara, and Allity. Combined, they operate over 20% of all residential aged care beds in the country. These companies continue to expand market share through new developments and acquisitions. These companies are also expanding to provide more retirement living and home care services, which allow access to additional government funding. In the most recent financial year (2016-2017), these six for-profit aged care companies combined received over $2.17 billion in government subsidies.4 This made up 72% of their combined total revenue of over $3 billion.5……

COMPANY SNAPSHOT

Bupa: A United Kingdom-based mutual insurance company with global operations including aged care services. Australia is Bupa’s largest and most profitable market.

Regis, Estia, and Japara: Public aged care companies listed on the ASX.
Opal: A private aged care company owned by subsidiaries of two listed companies, AMP Capital and Singapore-based G.K. Goh.

Allity: controlled by Archer Capital, an Australian private equity firm with large foreign pension fund investors.

Arcare, TriCare and Signature (formerly Innovative Care): three family-owned, for-profit aged care companies.

NOTE:
1. The Tax Justice Network - Australia is the Australian branch of the Tax Justice Network (TJN) and the Global Alliance for Tax Justice. TJN is an independent organisation launched in the British Houses of Parliament in March 2003. It is dedicated to high-level research, analysis and advocacy in the field of tax and regulation. TJN works to map, analyse and explain the role of taxation and the harmful impacts of tax evasion, tax avoidance, tax competition and tax havens. TJN’s objective is to encourage reform at the global and national levels.
Membership of the Network can be found here.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Repeat after me: Australia is a low-taxing country, a low-taxing country.....


“Australia is a low-taxing country. While tax debate in Australia tends to focus on tax rates, with endless comparisons of different countries’ rates of different taxes, these debates ignore the fact that Australia raises far less tax revenue than most developed countries.

This is not a problem in itself. There is no right or wrong level of taxation. However, the level of tax revenue raised inevitably affects governments’ ability to fund essential services such as health, education, social security, defence and infrastructure. Polling consistently shows that the Australian public would prefer higher levels of spending on public services than lower tax collection.” [The Australia Institute, 17 April 2018]

In two weeks time a federal government ideologically glued to cutting company tax and spending big on infrastructure on the back of ever-decreasing taxation revenue will deliver its 2018-19 Budget Papers.

So Prime Minister Turnbull and Treasurer Morrison will ignore polls like this one, because the only voters with influence are found in the ranks of political donors, big business and industry.

The Australia Institute, 18 April 2018:


Small government has small support - National poll

A large national poll of 1,557 Australians, released today by think tank The Australia Institute, has shown 64% of people want more public spending funded by tax revenue. Just 11% want lower taxes and less public spending.

* Two-thirds (64%) said they would prefer more public spending, funded by more tax
   revenue, and less inequality.

* Only 11% said they wanted lower public spending, lower tax and more inequality.

* A majority of voters for all parties selected the more spending and more tax option:

* 56% of both PHON voters and Other voters;
* 60% of LNP voters;
* 71% of ALP voters;
            * 75% of Green voters.


Polling Brief - April 2018 - more or less spending tax inequality.pdf

P521 Australia a low tax country.pdf

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Australian Taxation Commisioner discreetly warns staff to keep their mouth shut when approached by ABC Four Corners reseachers


ABC TV airs “Mongrel bunch of bastards”, the Four Corners/Fairfax investigation into the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on Monday 8 April 2018 at 8.30pm.

At least one ATO employee appears to have talked with some of the journalists involved in the investigation. His home was recently raided by the Australian Federal Police accompanied by an ATO investigator.

The ATO is not happy and issued this warning to all staff.....


Image via Twitter

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Quotes of the Week



"the average tax evader may be financially better off even after they're caught and penalised" [Chris Leech, writing about low tax evasion penalties applied by the Australian Taxation Office in an unpublished study, quoted in The Age, 24 March 2018]


“Civil disobedience and protest are vital in a democracy. They open up political space for communities to intervene when the doors of governments are closed to them, and the price of entry to corporate boardrooms and political party fundraisers is beyond reach.”  [Barrister Julian Burnside writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 March 2018]

Friday, 30 March 2018

Corporate tax cuts lead to 'jobs and growth' in Australia? Pull the other one!


This Business Council of Australia survey was apparently mothballed when initial results indicated that it would reveal the truth about outcomes flowing from the Turnbull Government’s planned corporate tax cuts - a distinct lack of jobs and wages growth.

Financial Review, 27 March 2018:

Fewer than one in five of Australia's leading chief executives say they will use the Turnbull government's proposed company tax cut to directly increase wages or employ more staff, according to a secret survey conducted by the Business Council of Australia.

More than 80 per cent said they would either use the proceeds to boost returns to shareholders or invest in the company.

The explosive revelation comes as the government is still struggling to secure the final two Senate votes needed to pass the remainder of the $65 billion package.
The survey follows a letter to all Senators last week by the BCA and 10 of the nation's top chief executive officers in which they pledged to reinvest the proceeds of the tax cuts with the ultimate aim of increasing wages.

"If the Senate passes this important legislation we, as some of the nation's largest employers, commit to invest more in Australia which will lead to employing more Australians and therefore stronger wage growth as the tax cut takes effect," the letter said.

But The Australian Financial Review has learned that the BCA directly surveyed the chief executives of its 130-plus members about a company tax cut this year, in the wake of the company tax rate cut in the United States.

The chief executives were asked which of four options they would nominate as their preferred response to the company tax cut in Australia.

These were: returning funds to shareholders; more investment; increasing the wages of their existing workforce; or increasing employment.

More than 80 per cent nominated one of the first two options while only 16 per cent to 17 per cent nominated higher wages or employment.

The survey results are understood to have been tightly held but were reported on internally in a memo entitled "the good news and the bad news".

A spokesman for the BCA confirmed the survey to the Financial Review on Monday but downplayed its significance…….

This lobby group has now decided that 'spin' is more important than fact and senators have all received a BCA video appeal promising well-paid and meaningful jobs and wages growth that only growing investment can deliver if the comapny tax cits are passed.

A neat trick given that its members are also arguing before the Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review 2017-18 that the minimum wage should remain as is or only be increased by 34-35 cents an hour which represents no growth in real wages.


The vague, slyly worded non-promise to lift workers wages received by Senators



Google some of the businesses on this short list and one finds an unflattering employer history with regard to employee wages and job terms & conditions.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

The tweet Malcolm Bligh Turnbull thought it was wise to delete from Twitter


On 22 March 2018 Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull deleted this tweet.

The video this tweet contained survives for a limited time elsewhere.


The reason why this tweet came and went so swiftly? Because many of the people with speaking parts are not low-income aged pensioners who just happen to have shares.

They are former business owners who are now self-funded retirees and, a least one of them structured his superannuation now in the pension phase on the premise that he would be receiving a taxpayer-funded cashback payment for unused franking credits - that is cash handouts for tax he never paid - for forever and a day.

One suspects that Turnbull suddenly realised that the video was not the tearjerker he originally thought it was.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Australian personal investment portfolio profiles reveal a sjgnificant lack of diversification and a fondness for shares


“This is indeed the wealthiest retired generation ever in Australian history…. Self-funded or partly self-funded retirees appear to enjoy a significantly higher standard of living than those who rely on the Aged Pension”  [Australian Centre for Australian Studies, August 2016]


According to the Australian Stock Exchange in 2017 there were over 11 million investors across the country.

Given the many words being written on the subject of share dividend imputation and franking credits here is a broad breakdown of the investment types these people hold.

Sources of income during retirement

In 2016–17, there were 3.6 million persons, aged 45 years and over, who reported that they were retired from the labour force. This group comprised 1.7 million men and 1.9 million women. Just over half of all retired persons were aged 70 years and over (56% of retired men and 52% of retired women).

Approx. 49% of male and 45% of female retirees stated main source of income was 'government pension/allowance'. In total this represents an est. 1.6 million individuals retired from the labour force.

Approx. 33% of male and 17% of female retirees stated their main source of income was 'superannuation/annuity/allocated pension' (37% of females state ‘partners income’ as main source of income). In total this represents an est. 884,000 individuals retired from the labour force.

Est. 30% of all retirees appeared to be eligible to claim a government part-pension.

Australian retirees (60 years and older) investment portfolio profile:

68% hold cash
58% hold shares
26% hold investment property
18% hold other on-exchange investments.
Retirees on average expect an 8 per cent return on investment.

Australian all adult (18 years of age & older) investment portfolio profile:

60% hold investments
Up to est. 42% hold investment property
31% hold shares
Up to 25% hold other on-exchange investments, including derivatives
10% hold family trusts
15% hold self-managed super funds (SMSFs), with the majority held by individuals over 45 years of age
Est. 44% of SMSFs contain shares and over 50% hold cash.
Adult investors on average expect an 8.2 to 9.2 per cent return on investment.

Only est. 5% of investors borrow money in order to invest.

Overall less than half (46%) of all investment portfolios are diversified to lessen financial risk.

Currently, most investors in Australia are self-directed, choosing to conduct their own research.

[See https://www.asx.com.au/documents/resources/2017-asx-investor-study.pdf
& http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6238.0]

Excess Franking Credits derived from Share Dividends

The average annual cash refund for unused franking credits is thought to be in the vicinity of $5,000 per shareholder, while the average unused credits cashback payment for people in the top 1% of self-managed super funds is an est. $83,000 a year.

Social media opinion
Tim Lyons at Revielle 

Case studies mentioned in mainstream media

Case Study 1

It has been pointed out that with income from other sources being $130,000, "Jean" would have income producing assets possibly valued at est. $3.2 million. She appears to own her own home.

Case Study 2 - Stjepan has retired with what appears to be a self-managed super fund. As his fund is in the pension phase he pays $0 tax. He and his wife have a combined annual income of $89,000 and own shares valued at $200,000. He states that he will lose "several thousand dollars a year" if he no longer receives cash back for excess franking credits.
Stepan owns his own home plus a holiday unit.
If this couple's combined income is $89,000 then they would possibly have income producing assets valued at around $1.7 million.

Case Study 3 - "Peter" has a self-managed super fund. As his fund is in pension phase he pays $0 tax. Peter has an income of $60,000 a year. Dividends from his share portfolio see him receiving franking credit cashback payments of over est. $8,000 per annum which he lodges in his SMSF account to grow his balance.
His income producing assets are possibly valued at est. $1.2 million.

Case Study 4 - Margaret and her husband have a self-managed super fund. As their fund is in the pension phase they pay $0 tax. The SMSF appears to solely invest is shares - 85% of which are Telstra and big bank shares. 
Currently National Australia Bank shares are worth in the vicinity of $29.51 with an annual dividend yield of 6.71%, Westpac shares are worth in the vicinity of $29.52 with an annual dividend yield of 6.37%, Commonwealth Bank shares are worth in the vicinity of $75.34 with an annual dividend yield of 5.71% and, Telstra shares are worth in the vicinity of $3.35 with an annual dividend yield of 6.8%.
No income is stated but what is asserted is that the abolition of payment for excess franking credits will see their annual income reduced by 30%.
Margaret and her husband own their own waterfront residence in Sydney.

The bottom line is that investors who structured their portfolios to take maximum advantage of excess franking credit cash payments do not appear to have considered the relatively short history of this cash payment scheme or the possibility that a political push might occur to eliminate the 'value' of unused franking credits - given that current owners of these credits who had no tax liability were claiming refunds for tax they had never paid in the first place.