Top teenaged taxpayer contributed over $500k in tax during 2013/14 financial year

Australia's highest tax-paying teenager contributed more than $500,000 to government coffers in the 2013-2014 financial year, a freedom of information investigation has revealed.

In the same period, major corporations including McDonald's Asia Pacific Consortium, Qantas, Virgin Australia, General Motors and William Hill did not pay any income tax.

At least nine other teenagers all paid more than $100,000 in tax over the same period.

The document obtained by the ABC shows the 10 highest-earning teenagers contributed $2.6 million to public funds. The document does not identify them.

Young Australians contribute $45m

The investigation revealed more than 1 million Australians under 18 had a tax file number, but only 113,389 lodged tax returns in 2013-2014. Even fewer, 15,302, earned enough money after deductions to pay tax.

The Government collected $45.3 million in tax from the teenagers.

ATO data revealed teenagers in the ACT paid the most tax per person, while South Australians paid the least.

New South Wales had the highest number of tax-paying teenagers and contributed the largest amount to government coffers, while the Northern Territory had the least.

Tax bills for under-18s, 2013-2014

State Tax liable teenagers Gross tax ($) Average tax bill ($)
ACT 233 810,932 3,480.39
QLD 3,260 10,440,567 3,202.63
NSW 4,362 13,852,892 3,175.81
WA 2,226 6,331,687 2,844.42
VIC 3,596 10,106,908 2,810.60
NT 155 399,073 2,574.66
TAS 264 643,847 2,438.81

*Data note - This information only includes teenagers liable to pay tax and does not include teenagers where the state is not specified.

Teenagers in the Northern Territory may have had some of the smallest tax bills, but they topped the country in terms of average incomes.

South Australian teenagers earned the least, bringing in about $3,000 less on average than their northern neighbours.

Average income for under-18s, 2013-2014

State Number of returns Total declared income ($) Average income ($)
NT 1,124 11,931,771 10,615
WA 14,210 144,921,736 10,199
QLD 26,747 264,266,148 9,880
NSW 32,207 293,575,030 9,115
TAS 2,717 22,099,467 8,134
ACT 1,780 14,456,391 8,122
VIC 23,884 186,391,042 7,804
SA 8,097 58,343,371 7,206

*Data note - This information does not include teenagers where the state is not specified.

Gender pay gap more pronounced in teens

The returns to the Australian Tax Office showed the gender pay gap was even more pronounced in teenagers aged under 18.

Across all ages, the gender pay gap was 17 per cent. But the figures showed girls aged under 18 earned 24 per cent less than boys in the same age bracket.

That figure was calculated from the declared income details of more than 100,000 teenagers.

Roughly the same number of girls and boys lodged tax returns.

Income for under-18s, 2013-2014

Gender Total income ($) Number of returns Average income ($)
Female 43,172,8345 54,505 7,921
Male 577,195,805 58,884 9,802
    Paygap 24 per cent

Working the system

Nationally, only half of the teenagers liable to pay tax claimed deductions.

Deductions can include things like work car expenses, self-education costs and uniform costs.

Northern Territory teenagers were the most prolific in the portion claiming deductions, with three-quarters requesting a reduction for their expenses.

Tasmanian teenagers had the highest average deductions, claiming an average of $1,567 per teenager.

Tax deductions for under-18s, 2013-2014

State Tax liable teenagers Deduction claims Percentage claiming deductions Total value of deductions ($) Average deduction/claim ($)
TAS 264 130 49 203,797 1,567
ACT 233 87 37 121,984 1,402
NSW 4,362 2,059 47 2,716,580 1,319
WA 2,226 1,386 62 1,558,424 1,124
QLD 3,260 1,983 61 2,086,634 1,052
NT 155 116 75 114,938 991
VIC 3,596 1,345 37 1,088,538 809
SA 1,057 430 41 227,027 528

*Data note - This information only includes teenagers liable to pay tax and does not include teenagers where the state is not specified.

Young and in debt

More than 200 taxpayers under 18 have already accrued a HELP debt for higher education fees.

The fees have to be paid back once the debtor earns more than about $54,000 a year.

Victorian teenagers had the highest average debt, owing about $18,500.

In Queensland, most students finish high school aged 17 and as a result that state has the highest number of young taxpayers with HELP debt.

No teenagers in the Northern Territory declared having a HELP debt.

HELP debt for under 18s, 2013-2014

State HELP debtors Total HELP debt ($) Average help debt ($)
VIC 23 427,071 18,568
NSW 70 869,006 12,414
QLD 84 777,530 9,256
WA 20 139,927 6,996
SA 10 48,831 4,883
ACT 1 4,386 4,386
TAS 2 2,219 1,109
NT 0 0  -

*Data note - This information does not include teenagers where the state is not specified.

Young and charitable

The tax office data showed young Australians were not inclined to donate to charity, or at the very least were not inclined to declare they had donated to charity.

Teenagers from the ACT were the exception, with their average gift amounts doubling that of every other state.

Declared donations/gifts for under-18s, 2013-2014

State Tax returns Number of declared donations Total donations ($) Average donation amount ($)
ACT 1,780 77 9,297 121
WA 14,210 568 43,250 76
NSW 32,207 1216 83,795 69
VIC 23,884 973 59,386 61
NT 1,124 56 3,357 60
SA 8,097 200 11,908 60
QLD 26,747 1464 81,892 56
TAS 2,717 76 3,321 44

*Data note - This information does not include teenagers where the state is not specified.

Source ABC News

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