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Discussion paper

Trusts and tax avoidance

21 Jul 2017

This report, by The Australia Institute’s Senior Research Fellow, David Richardson, shows that, according to ATO data, the equivalent of 21.6 per cent of Australia’s national income was run through a trust.

The latest ATO figures show there are 823,448 trusts with assets of $3.1 trillion, and total business income of $349.2 billion.

The flow of money out of these trusts is skewed heavily towards those on very high incomes.

People with taxable incomes of more than $500,000 account for just 0.43 per cent of the population but receive 51 per cent of all trust distributions. The 96 per cent of Australians earning under $180,000, still a high income, receive just 13 per cent of trust income.

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