How much money does it take to make Australia’s top 1%? The whole concept of the ‘1%’ has wormed its way into popular culture over the past decade or so. It’s a handy way of describing the wealthiest sliver of Australians.
So how much does it take to make it into this most exclusive of clubs? Well, that’s what a report in The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) attempted to answer this week.
The SMH analysed income and taxation data from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) from the 2018-19 financial year to answer this question. The results make for some interesting reading.
What does it take to make the 1%?
So according to the report, one would need an annual income of at least $350,000 to be in the top 1% of income earners in the country. Notably, the report also points out that to be in the top 1% over in the United States of America, you would instead need to have an annual income of $700,000 instead. Land of the free indeed. But back to Australia.
This 1% includes approximately 82,000 men and 28,000 women. Of those ‘1% men’, the average annual income was $760,853, whilst for the women, it was slightly lower at $753,481. Combined, those 110,000 taxpayers fronted up 17% of the entire country’s income tax pool.
Taxpayers qualifying for the top bracket of income tax (on income above $180,000) contributed roughly a third of the income tax take. So what do these high flyers end to do for a living? Well, the report found that the top paid positions in the country are surgeons (with an average taxable income of $394,303), followed by anaesthetists ($386,065), and internal medicine specialists ($304,752).
Some interesting geographical insights were discussed too. The top-earning postcode in New South Wales was 2028, which encompasses the Sydney suburb of Double Bay. Melbourne’s most affluent postcode was 3142, which includes Toorak and Hawksburn.
The report also found that 4 out of 5 Australians earn less than $100,000 annually – reportedly the lowest on record. In 2012-13 for example, the number was 9 in 10. So if you’re on $100k or more, congratulations, you’re in the top 20% of Aussie income earners. If not, don’t worry, you’re in the good company of 80% of Aussies.