Progressive Tax Changes to Private Pensions in a Life-Cycle Framework
Tax concessions are a common feature of private pension pillars around the world. Most countries exempt pension fund earnings from any taxation but tax either benefits (EET regime) or contributions (TEE regime) progressively as regular private income. By contrast, Australia's superannuation taxation features concessional flat tax rates on contributions and fund earnings, with benefits being generally tax free. Concerned with the vertical equity of the current superannuation tax concessions, this paper provides a quantitative analysis of hypothetical replacements of the existing superannuation tax treatment with the EET and TEE regimes commonly found in other countries. Using a general equilibrium OLG model calibrated for Australia, we find that these hypothetical tax reforms to superannuation improve the vertical equity in the short, medium and long run, as indicated by larger relative welfare gains and income improvements experienced by lower income households.
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