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  • Trends and latest findings

    Australia’s GST gap compares favourably with similar international tax jurisdictions. Over a five-year time frame, it is in line with the comparable best performing European Union (EU) member countries, and compares well with the United Kingdom estimate.

    The net gap estimate for 2017–18 of $5 billion is 7.3% of the total theoretical GST liability. This represents an increase of approximately $283 million from our revised 2016–17 estimate of 7.2%.

    Theoretical GST for 2017–18 was $68.6 billion. This represents a 4.4% increase from the revised 2016–17 figure. Looking at two major components of the theoretical tax base for GST in detail:

    • Taxable household consumption for 2017–18 increased by 4.1% compared to 2016–17. This represents a higher growth rate compared to 2016–17 (2.9%).
    • New dwelling purchases (as indicated by gross fixed capital formation in dwellings data) increased by 5.8% compared to 2016–17. This represents a much weaker growth rate compared to 2016–17 (14%) and is the lowest observed growth rate in new dwelling purchases since 2012–13.

    GST paid was $63.6 billion for 2017–18. This represents a 4.3% increase from the revised 2016–17 figure. Looking at the components of GST paid in detail:

    • Tax paid voluntarily increased by 4.6% to $61.3 billion in 2017–18.
    • Amendments decreased by 3% to $2.3 billion in 2017–18.

    Voluntary tax paid and amendment figures from 2012–13 to 2016–17 have all been revised using the latest available information (see Table 1).

    Note that amounts reported in this estimate are rounded to the nearest $ million.

    Table 1: GST gap, 2012–13 to 2017–18

    Element

    2012–13

    2013–14

    2014–15

    2015–16

    2016–17

    2017–18

    Gross gap ($m)

    6,567

    6,556

    6,789

    7,435

    7,064

    7,276

    Amendments ($m)

    2,509

    2,497

    2,550

    2,279

    2,351

    2,282

    Net gap ($m)

    4,058

    4,059

    4,239

    5,156

    4,712

    4,995

    Tax paid ($m)

    48,805

    51,840

    55,134

    57,511

    60,950

    63,560

    Theoretical liability ($m)

    52,864

    55,899

    59,373

    62,667

    65,662

    68,555

    Gross gap (%)

    12.4

    11.7

    11.4

    11.9

    10.8

    10.6

    Net gap (%)

    7.7

    7.3

    7.1

    8.2

    7.2

    7.3

    Notes:Amounts and percentages may not reconcile due to rounding.Changes from previously published estimates are due to revisions to ABS data, updated ATO data and a modified approach to determining GST liabilities reported but not paid.

    Figure 1 shows the trend in tax reported and the net GST gap over the same period.

    Figure 1: Amount paid and net gap – GST, 2012–13 to 2017–18

    Figure 1: This graph shows the amount of income tax paid and the net gap stated in Table 1 for the years 2012–13 to 2017–18.

    Data sources: ABS, ATO and Treasury.

    Figure 2: Gross and net GST gap percentage, 2012–13 to 2017–18

    Figure 2: This graph is a pictorial representation of the gross and net gap percentages stated in Table 1 for the years 2012–13 to 2017–18.

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      Last modified: 17 Oct 2019QC 57175