While you’re here… help us stay here.

Are you enjoying open access to policy and research published by a broad range of organisations? Please donate today so that we can continue to provide this service.


This is the tenth publication of the Per Capita Tax Survey, which has been conducted annually since 2010, with the exception of 2013. The results provide a snapshot of the Australian public’s attitudes towards taxation and public expenditure, and a long-term view of trends in public opinion on our tax and transfer system.

As in previous years, we put the survey out to a representative sample of Australians in February 2020, intending to publish the results ahead of the scheduled federal budget in May. And then everything changed. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March caused chaos across the world, upending social and economic norms and throwing the plans of families and workplaces into disarray. Governments scrambled to shore up businesses and households as economic activity was shut down almost overnight, and the federal budget was put on hold until October.

This year’s fieldwork was undertaken between 5 and 11 February 2020, and again between 31 July and 10 August, through Dynata. Each time, it was conducted as an online survey of 1550 Australians with nationally representative samples by gender, age, and state or territory of residence.


  • Australians apparently have a renewed appreciation of the essential services provided through our system of government
  • A greater number of Australians also appear to be more comfortable with the level of government spending on services now than they were prior to COVID-19
  • Public approval of the use of government debt to underpin long-term investment is also significantly higher compared to previous surveys, with a remarkable 15 point increase in support over the six months since the pandemic hit
  • A significant majority of respondents believe that big business doesn’t pay its fair share of tax, and that corporate tax avoidance affects the fairness of Australia’s taxation system
  • Support for a significant, permanent increase in the rate of JobSeeker (previously known as Newstart) is significantly higher than it was pre-pandemic


Publication Details
License type:
All Rights Reserved
Access Rights Type: