Rice Warner puts its case for budget changes
Thursday, 11 February 2016 1:14pm

Industry consultant Rice Warner has called on Treasury to reconsider three superannuation initiatives it put forward for the 2015 federal budget, alongside a raft of other proposed changes in 2016.

Rice Warner would still like to see super funds offer joint accounts for couples; employers be allowed to pay additional contributions for female employees; and removal of the $450-a-month threshold for which super guarantee (SG) contributions do not need to be paid.

Among several measures for 2016, the firm would like to see the federal government impose a lifetime cap on non-concessional contributions of $500,000 - a considerable reduction from the current allowance of $180,000 a year.

It is also calling for a reduction in minimum withdrawal values by 25% to 50% to allow members to defer drawdowns during periods of market downturns. It said deferral of withdrawals will assist the retirement benefit to last for a longer period.

Rice Warner said having a uniform tax rate of about 10.5% on the earnings of accumulation and pension accounts would provide revenue neutrality. It recommends a rate of 12% which would help workers to grow their benefits faster from a lower tax rate than the current 15%.

It adds pensioners would pay tax on earnings "but 12% is still a highly concessional rate" and the bulk of the tax would be borne by those with large benefits. There is also support for a 20% rebate on marginal tax rates for concessional contributions.

The firm adds if both the 2015 and 2016 initiatives were passed, it will still allow the SG rate to rise from 9.5% to 12% "without becoming an undue fiscal burden."

"This rise is necessary to ensure more Australians become financially secure in their retirement years. As superannuation funds collectively deliver long-term returns in excess of wage growth and GDP growth, it is economically sensible to pre-fund retirement benefits wherever possible," Rice Warner's submission said.

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