Monday, July 23, 2012

Tax, super and you resource

"Tax, Super + You"  is a new and recently launched resource from the ATO designed to help high school students understand Australia's tax and superannuation systems.
As individuals, we all have our aspirations – a desire to make money, to achieve success in life and maybe raise a family. But no matter how successful we are as individuals, we all rely upon others because we are part of a community.
The basic goods and services that we all need – schools, roads, hospitals and social services – are available because we have all contributed to the tax system to provide government with the funds they need to deliver these services on our behalf. 
Regardless of what you want to do in life, you need to understand the tax system. You do not have to be a tax lawyer or an accountant but you need to understand your obligations – paying your tax is a serious matter, regardless of what area of employment you end up in.
-- the Assistant Treasurer the Honourable David Bradbury MP, during the program launch at MacGregor State High School
I was never taught financial literacy during my school years. Whilst still far from perfect, I think my financial literacy is generally passable these days, thanks to more than a decade in the workforce, doing my own tax returns, engaging the services of a financial advisor, making some pretty big mistakes (some of which I was able to recover from), and time spent dealing with the tax and superannuation systems in the course of my employment.

I can't recommend more highly the the benefit of starting this aspect of education earlier. If you think your knowledge in these areas is lacking but you're past your high school days, fear not as you can still access the material by registering here as a member of the public, and you can also take a preview and sample one of the lessons without registering.

One of the first things you are presented with is this perhaps sobering statement:
You have a legal responsibility to know what taxes you are liable to pay. You can't claim, 'I didn't know I had to pay tax on it'. The Australian income tax system relies on taxpayers self-assessing, which means you are responsible for working out how much you need to declare and can claim on your tax return.
Check it out.