6537.0 - Government Benefits, Taxes and Household Income, Australia, 2015-16 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/06/2018   
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For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


This publication presents results of a study of the effects of taxation and government expenditure on the distribution of income among private households in Australia in 2015-16. This study uses data from the Household Expenditure Survey (HES), ABS Government Finance Statistics (GFS) and Input-Output tables from the Australian System of National Accounts.

Results collected from the HES were initially released on the 13th September 2017 in Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Summary of Results, 2015-16 (cat. no. 6530.0).


The Fiscal Incidence Study (FIS) is conducted every six years, following the release of the HES. Subsequent outputs, including Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURF) and detailed microdata will be released following this publication.


Information relating to the collection and compilation of the HES (e.g. sample design, methodology, etc) can be found in Household Expenditure Survey and Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia, 2015-16 (cat. no. 6503.0). Detailed information on the compilation and allocation of social transfers in kind can also be found in the User Guide.

The estimation of the incidence of taxes on production to households is based on extensive use of these Input-Output tables. Australian National Accounts: Input-Output Tables, 2015-16 (cat.no.5209.0.55.001) includes the supply-use tables with detailed explanatory notes on the data sources, content and methods of construction used. Consistent methodology has been used in this study since 2003-04 to assist the comparability of estimates.

Further information on the methodology used to produce taxes on production can be found in the ‘Methodology of taxes on production’ chapter.


Each cycle of the HES collects comparable information to allow for analysis of changes over time. Various statistics can be utilised to make comparisons between 2015-16 HES data and data from previous HES cycles. These include proportions (e.g. proportional share of expenditure), means and medians.

The ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey. Sound survey practice, however, requires ongoing development and maintenance to maintain the integrity of the data and the efficiency of the collection. For instance, when new products or services become available, these are added to the Household Expenditure Classification. Current income, wealth and expenditure standards are available on the ABS website and more information is available in the Explanatory Notes of this publication and the User Guide publication.

The HES provides baseline expenditure information which provides a comparison point for other ABS and external surveys. A comparison between the HES and the Australian System of National Accounts (ASNA) is provided in the Downloads tab on the User Guide (due for release following this publication).


Detailed information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with this study can be found in the Explanatory Notes and Glossary included with this publication. Additional information can be found in Household Expenditure Survey and Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia, 2015-16 (cat. no. 6503.0).


Tabulated data and associated relative standard errors are freely available in Excel spreadsheets which can be accessed from the 'Downloads' tab.

A CURF product will be produced from this study, subject to the approval of the Australian Statistician. For further details, refer to the Microdata Entry Page on the ABS website. It is expected that the CURF products will be available following the release of this publication.

Customised data are also available on request. Note that detailed data can be subject to high relative standard errors which in some cases may result in data being regarded as unfit for release. A data item list is available from the 'Downloads' tab of the User Guide for 2015–16 (cat. no. 6503.0).

For further information about these or related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, or email client.services@abs.gov.au. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.