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QUALITY DECLARATION - SUMMARY
11 The main statistical releases from ATO PIT data are:
12 Data for income categories above are aggregated from items in the individual income tax return and are selected to conform as closely as possible to ABS Income Standards. For more information on the data items included in each category, refer to the Explanatory Notes.
13 Due to the tax exempt status of many Government pensions and allowances, information on these types of income sources are under-reported on the PIT dataset. For this reason, Government pensions and allowances are not included in the calculation of Total income in this publication. Methods for including more complete Government pensions and allowances information sourced from different DSS datasets are being considered for future iterations of this project.
14 The statistical release is presented at the national level. Further information at other levels of geography, based on the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), are available on request as a consultancy by contacting the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.
15 Occupation data are presented using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). Industry data are presented using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC). Country of birth and Citizenship data are presented using the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC).
16 Statistical publication output is available as Excel tables. Microdata are available as SAS, SPSS, STATA and CSV formats. The level of detail provided for selected data items are available within the data item lists. The data item list can be found on the Downloads tab of the relevant publication.
17 Individuals may lodge income tax returns in respect of each financial year (1 July to 30 June). Personal income tax data is provided to the ABS around 22 months after the income year. Data are taken from an annual extraction from the ATO database as at 31 October each year (16 months after the income year).
18 Migrant data is derived from information contained in visa applications lodged with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). Information is generally filled in by the migrant or a migration agent and may be subject to non-sampling error, such as mistakes made when filling out the application. Some available data items have a high non-response rate as not all questions are required for all applications. Some information on the SDB, such as name and address information, is updated regularly from Medicare. However, some information such as marital status and proficiency in English is collected at the time of the visa application and is not updated unless another application is lodged.
19 Personal income tax data is derived from information contained in personal income tax returns lodged with the ATO. For the purposes of providing statistical measures for the entire population, the ATO database has some limitations in its coverage. Persons who receive less than the taxable income threshold are not necessarily required to lodge a tax return. This can include persons who derive their income from Government pensions and allowances. Consequently, the coverage of low income earners, including people receiving government pensions and allowances is not complete in ATO records. This leads to a slight over-estimation of the median income received by taxpayers as those with income below the tax free threshold are not included.
20 Personal income data are provided by the ATO before the processing of all income tax returns for any given year may have been completed. Data provided to the ABS by the ATO are from returns processed up to 31 October, 16 months after the end of the financial year. It is estimated that approximately an additional 3% of taxpayers lodge their income tax returns in the twelve months after the initial processing cut off each year and approximately 5% of taxpayers lodge their income tax returns in the three years following the processing cut off. This means that data provided to the ABS slightly under-estimates the number of income earners and the total income earned. Despite this, the quality of the data published is considered to be very high.
21 The microdata generally contains finer levels of detail of data items than what is otherwise published in other format. For more information on the level of detail provided, see the associated data item listings.
22 Steps to confidentialise the data made available on the microdata are taken in such a way as to maximise the usefulness of the content while maintaining the confidentiality of individuals. Estimates generated from the microdata will differ from the estimates produced from other ABS collections and estimates produced from the migrants' Settlement Database (SDB) for several reasons. The estimates are a result of integrating data from two administrative data sources. The linked records are uncalibrated as there were no known population totals to benchmark to, and the resulting dataset is unique from both the Personal Income Tax (PIT) data and the SDB. Due to the quality issues mentioned in the Reliability of Estimates section of the Explanatory Notes, estimates should generally be treated with caution.
23 Personal income tax statistics can be impacted by changes to Tax legislation. The ATO outlines any such changes in their annual release of 'Taxation Statistics' on the ATO website.
24 Data for income categories described above (see Relevance) are aggregated from items in the individual income tax return. There have been several changes in the past few years. For more information on specific changes in previous years, refer to the Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas (cat. no. 6524.0.55.002) Quality Declaration.
25 For more information on the changes to the calculation of income sources that affect the data in this publication, refer to the Explanatory Notes.
26 Other ABS sources of income data include:
27 The ABS Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) collects information on sources of income, amounts received and the characteristics of persons aged 15 years and over resident in private dwellings throughout Australia. Data collected from SIH can be compared to ATO personal income tax data published in Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas (cat. no. 6524.0.55.002) and Wage and Salary Earner Estimates for Small Areas (cat. no. 5673.0.55.003) at the Australia level. Country of birth and year of arrival are available from the SIH but permanent migrants cannot be identified. Given that the SIH outputs information for households and it is not possible to identify households on the Personal Income of Migrants publication, it is difficult to compare the recorded values in this publication with those estimated in the SIH.
28 The estimates from this publication are not comparable to the personal income tax (PIT) data included in the regional statistics publications; Wage and Salary Earner Estimates for Small Areas (cat. no. 5673.0.55.003) and Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas (cat. no. 6524.0.55.002). These publications include the PIT data for the whole population, not just migrants. Consequently, personal income data for permanent migrants cannot be identified in these publications' data.
29 The Survey of Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) is a quarterly sample survey of employing businesses. It collects data on average weekly earnings for full-time adult employee jobs, average weekly total earnings for all employee jobs, and average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adult employee jobs. Personal information on employees such as country of birth and year of arrival are not available on the AWE. The average weekly employee income for permanent migrants presented in the 2009-10 publication can be compared at the Australia level with 'average weekly total earnings for all employees jobs' for May 2010 from the Survey of Average Weekly Earnings. These two series items are generally consistent in magnitude at the Australia level (see the table below).
30 Income data is also available every five years from the Australian Census of Population and Housing which provides total income for households and individuals. While the Census provides information on country of birth, year of arrival and ancestry, data to enable the identification of permanent migrants is not included. However, the Australian Census and Migrants Integrated Dataset (ACMID) does include permanent visa subclasses and this data can be compared to the permanent migrant personal income data. The two series are generally consistent in magnitude at the Australia level.
31 The Australian System of National Accounts (ASNA) brings together wage and salary estimates from multiple sources, including a range of quarterly and annual business surveys. The data are updated iteratively whereas the permanent migrant personal income data are from a fixed 'point in time'. The ASNA mainly sources data from businesses and the government sector while the permanent migrant personal income data are primarily sourced from individuals. This methodological difference contributes to some variation in estimates across these collections.
32 Counts of individuals in this release are linked migrants aged 15 years and over who submitted a tax return to the ATO for the referenced financial year. It is not an count of all migrants in Australia.
33 The following records were excluded from the linkage process:
34 Estimates of personal income in this release are gross income before deductions, and before tax and application of the Medicare levy.
35 Taxable income (contained in the ATO 'Taxation Statistics', and released in the National Regional Profile) is calculated on the personal income tax as total income or loss minus total deductions.
36 When interpreting the data, it should be noted that for the purposes of providing statistical measures for the entire population, the ATO database has some limits to its coverage. Persons who receive an income below the tax-free threshold are not necessarily required to lodge a tax return and this can include people who derive their income from government pensions and allowances. In addition, some Australian Government pension, benefit and allowance payments are exempt from income tax and therefore recipients are not required to include this income in their taxation returns. Consequently, the coverage of all low income earners is incomplete and Government pensions and allowances are excluded from the data.
37 The tax free threshold is subject to change and can impact the results presented in the data in this publication when comparing one year to another.
38 Personal income tax data releases all contain detailed Explanatory Notes that provide information on scope and coverage, confidentiality, changes to the data over time, geographical presentation of the data, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.
39 Data from the statistical publication is publicly available on the ABS website. Users requiring customised output can submit a data request via the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.
40 Personal Microdata products are available to approved users. Users wishing to access the microdata should read the How to Apply for Microdata web page, before applying for access through the Registration Centre. Users should also familiarise themselves with information available via the Microdata Entry Page. A full list of available microdata can be viewed via the Expected and available Microdata.
41 Any questions regarding access to microdata can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (02) 6252 7714.
42 Personal income tax data provided to the ABS from ATO, is also released to the ABS website in:
43 Further ABS publications including migrant data utilising the DSS Settlement Database include:
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