Companies and super delivering budget blues

The November monthly budget figures, released after the mid-year update by Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, shows the corporate and consumer sectors all delivering lower revenue.

Company tax alone was almost $2 billion behind pro-rata expectations to the end of November. Behind personal income tax, company tax is the second-largest revenue item for the federal government.

It is the first time since 2015-16 that after five months of a financial year the collections from company tax have been behind schedule. In that year, the Turnbull government delivered a deficit of $39.6 billion.

Superannuation taxes were almost $500 million or more than 9 per cent down on what had been expected when Mr Frydenberg announced the budget in April.

Personal income tax collections to the end of November were $1.4 billion higher than forecast due in part to the unexpected lift in total employment.

While the government is tipping a modest rise in household spending on the back of its tax cuts, GST revenues continue to show consumers remain wary of opening their wallets.

By the end of November, GST collections were $553 million behind schedule. In the October report they had been $346 million short of expectations, pointing to a disappointing November shopping period.

So far this financial year, the Commonwealth has collected $30.2 billion in GST which will ultimately flow to the states and territories. All are using their own mid-year updates to downgrade expected GST revenues.


To the end of last month, the budget was in deficit to the tune of $13.8 billion, more than $700 million than had been expected at that point.

The situation would have been much worse but for total spending being $1.2 billion lower than forecast.

KPMG chief economist Dr Brendan Rynne said the mid-year update points to a lift in company tax collections of $900 million to reach the government’s forecasts.

He said there were also signs that spending in some key areas, such as health, were running a little faster than predicted, raising doubts over the expected $5 billion surplus.

“Our best case estimate is for a surplus of about $2 billion, which is wafer thin; meaning we are unlikely to see any further major fiscal policy expansions, if the government wants to maintain the surplus,” he said.

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