Elderly and poor may miss out on hand-out

SOME low income earners who were excited about the federal government’s $900 cash hand-out could be disappointed.

Payments to individuals for the National Building and Jobs Plan commence on April 4 and low income earners and the elderly may miss out.

Advantage Accountants & Business Consultants partner Guy Middlebrook said certain tax payers who took advantage of tax offsets may not get the cash bonus.

“The simple essence of it is if you didn’t pay tax you are not eligible,” Mr Middlebrook said.

“It has caused a bit of anxiety with some people.”

He said many elderly take advantage of a low income tax offset that mean they effectively pay no tax.

These people will not receive any bonus.

“If an individual earns less than $11,000 they are able to claim the low income tax offset and receive back up to $750 in tax,” he said.

“This means they will not get the cash bonus either.”

Mr Middlebrook said there did appear to be some inequities in the payments.

“You only have to have paid a slight bit of tax and you will receive the $900,” he said.

Port Macquarie resident John O’Mahony said he was very disappointed when he found out he would miss out.

Mr O’Mahony earned almost $9000 in the 2007-2008 tax year and claimed the low income tax offset and was refunded all his tax back.

“When I called the ATO (Australian Tax Office) they told me if I had paid a dollar in tax I would have got it (the $900),” Mr O’Mahony said.

“Because I had already put my tax return in it I am disadvantaged.”

If Mr O’Mahony had paid the tax payable on his income (about $440) he would have received the federal government’s cash bonus.

Contact the ATO on 132 861 or click on www.ato.gov.au/corporate/content.asp?doc=/content/00178930.htm&page=2&H2 for more information on your eligibility.

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