The average taxpayer across all Northern Rivers postcodes earned $53,361 in salaries, but gave back $11,101 to government coffers.
The average taxpayer across all Northern Rivers postcodes earned $53,361 in salaries, but gave back $11,101 to government coffers. wutwhanfoto

The Northern Rivers postcodes that pay the most in tax

By Rebecca David

WORKERS in Northern Rivers postcodes paid a whopping $190.1 million in tax for 2015-16, the latest figures released by the Australian Tax Office reveal.

The average taxpayer across all Northern Rivers postcodes earned $53,361 in salaries, but gave back $11,101 to government coffers.

A Northern Star data investigation mapped postcodes to local government areas to provide the first estimate and comparison of the tax haul from areas across the country.

In Lismore, the hardest taxed postcode was 2477 where people paid on average $13,333 against their average salary of $54,681. In Ballina and Byron the highest taxpaying postcode as 2479 where people paid on average $17,841 against their average salary of $58,813.

The postcode slugged more than any other in net tax was 2088, in Mosman, NSW, where 15738 taxpayers paid the grand sum of $1.2 billion in net tax to the tax office.

ATO data showed 49,567 Northern Rivers taxpayers claimed more than $9.8 million in expenses just to manage their tax affairs.

They also claimed $34.3 million in work-related car expenses and another $8.1 million in work clothing costs.

As 2017-18 tax time looms for Australian workers, ATO assistant commissioner ssKath Anderson named the five main areas where people bungled their claims:

  • LEAVING out some income, such as forgetting interest or a temp job;
  • CLAIMING deductions for personal expenses;
  • CLAIMING a "standard deduction" on things they haven't paid for;
  • CLAIMING personal expenses associated with rental properties;
  • NOT keeping receipts or records of their expenses.

"Around half of the adjustments we make are because the taxpayer had no records, or they were poor quality," Ms Anderson said.

She encouraged taxpayers to use the myDeductions tool in the ATO app, which allowed users to take photos of records and then upload the all information their tax agent or the myTax program.

Ms Anderson said some people also ran into trouble by lodging their claim too early and leaving out some of their income, which could delay their return or see them owing money to the tax office.

"If you wait until mid-August, we will have prefilled most of your income information for you, including pay from employers, and information from the bank."

She also advised people to steer clear of private expenses such as work travel, personal phone calls and claiming a "standard deduction".

"The ATO wants everyone to claim what they're entitled to," she said.

"Those planning to bend the rules or fudge their claims should be aware that the ATO has sophisticated analytics and access to lots of data, and we compare claims between taxpayers in similar occupations."