Australian Census 2021

Lynda2475

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ATO is always going to be a much better source of income information, as census only asks about the last week vs a whole year. My income will be zero on census night as im wrapping up a contract and wont start next one before census night, so it will look like ive had no income, yet if held a week earlier or a couple of weeks later, completely different data.

Transport question in greater Sydney (and anywhere else in lockdown) will also severely under report usual travel given current covid restrictions, so not going to help with planning for post pandemic.

Seems odd they need to ask about military service, surely the ADF should have these records.
 

DC3

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I haven't received anything yet but they still have just over a week to get it to me...
You can go on-line (now) to complete the Census information.
 

RooFlyer

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ATO is always going to be a much better source of income information, as census only asks about the last week vs a whole year. My income will be zero on census night as im wrapping up a contract and wont start next one before census night, so it will look like ive had no income, yet if held a week earlier or a couple of weeks later, completely different data.
The first bit is not true, in several respects. The question asks for your "total" annual or weekly income "usually received", not your income the prior week 🙄.

It also asks income on a different basis than reported to the ATO ( includes everything), and since it's anonymous, the result should be more accurate ( I know, possibly a pipe dream), but if not, at least will be consistent with past censuses, which, on average should contain the same level of lies and mistakes. Tax requirements and definitions and loopholes change. As it's been pointed out to you before, trends in the data are important, not just the spot data.

Also, I'm not sure if the law allows use of tax information for a purpose other than assessing tax.
 
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drron

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Yes I wonder what income Kerry Packer put on his census form.
 

kpc

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Yes I wonder what income Kerry Packer put on his census form.
Knowing Kerry it would be a negative amount! Who in their right mind would put down their income on the census form? What if it was more than what the ATO is aware off! Stupid stupid Q! I never ever disclose my income in any survey....
 

Virgin Bart

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Knowing Kerry it would be a negative amount! Who in their right mind would put down their income on the census form? What if it was more than what the ATO is aware off! Stupid stupid Q! I never ever disclose my income in any survey....
Why?
 
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cove

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Have done our Perth census and it didn’t hurt a bit. Took about 20 minutes as we had to get answers from my 94 year old mother in law. Have to round up the other census forms as we hav multiple homes but wit covid we cannot get there.
 

RooFlyer

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What if it was more than what the ATO is aware off! Stupid stupid Q!

Have you read the actual question recently? Its a completely different "income" basis from what you report to the ATO. The two can't be reconciled.

Why not report it accurately on the census - the census is anonymous (disaggregated name from data) and the data cannot be accessed by other agencies.# Can you imagine a knock at the dood "ATO here! Ha! Gotcha! We've tapped into census data, against the law and we are going to invoke the full force of the law ... ah. ... oh. ... oops." :rolleyes:

Stupid question? You don't think its worthwhile to discover where areas of anomalous low income (poverty) is, so government can address services etc there? Or are services provided to Toorak OK to be the same as the same as, say Gagebrook? Ditto for education, health etc.

# The usual conspiracy theories aside.🤣
 

Lynda2475

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The question asks for your "total" annual or weekly income "usually received", not your income the prior week

Define usual. Its a flawed question for those who arent on a wage or salary which have a constant amount.

It is also likely to result in investment income being omitted, as share dividends are sporadic and not constant amounts.

My income at the momemt isnt usual, nor was the last 12 months due to covid induced job losses, lost earning opportunities.

Just like use of public transport, recent income isnt typical at all due to covid.

Its a completely different "income" basis from what you report to the ATO

How so? Total income is declared on tax, even if large portions arent taxed due to deductions.

Those on salary will generally know theire pre-tax amount, fewer could readily quote post tax. Or readily recall interest or share income.

People would generally be less honest on census, as will either guestimate rather than check numbers and others deliberately withhold as no repercussions for lying unlike on tax which is auditable.

Trends based on inaccurate data arent terribly useful.

And depersonalised ATO data is absolutely used all the time in policy setting. Treasury models know how many people fall into each tax bracket, to project government income. Trends on deductions inform audit area of focus for the next tax year.
 

RooFlyer

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Define usual. Its a flawed question for those who arent on a wage or salary which have a constant amount.

It is also likely to result in investment income being omitted, as share dividends are sporadic and not constant amounts.

My income at the momemt isnt usual, nor was the last 12 months due to covid induced job losses, lost earning opportunities.

You've moved the goalposts again ;) Your original comment: "ATO is always going to be a much better source of income information, as census only asks about the last week vs a whole year" was completely wrong. I define 'usual' as the common-sense, plain reading of the word, for the individual concerned. It completely takes into account variable income. Investment income, share dividends etc of course are captured if you work on the annual income option.

If 'usual' means different things to different people, so what? There are lots of words in the census - and in every day conversation - that are the same. Just answer for yourself and it'll be fine.

But I suggest you read the actual census question before commenting further.

Your income during covid isn't usual. So what? Census questions are not popped in and out depending on whats gone on that year, they are constent census after census (unlike tax laws, and income tax requirements), with questions added or dropped only after significant consideration. If its an anomalous year, then guess what? The census will record it as such, and we'll see the effect of covid on income though various professions, various areas, various ethnic groups etc. Who's affected most? Least? etc.

How so? Total income is declared on tax, even if large portions arent taxed due to deductions.

Again, just read the census question. And have a look at the comment on the form about the background to this question.
 

HappyFlyerFamily

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You've moved the goalposts again ;) Your original comment: "ATO is always going to be a much better source of income information, as census only asks about the last week vs a whole year" was completely wrong. I define 'usual' as the common-sense, plain reading of the word, for the individual concerned. It completely takes into account variable income. Investment income, share dividends etc of course are captured if you work on the annual income option.

If 'usual' means different things to different people, so what? There are lots of words in the census - and in every day conversation - that are the same. Just answer for yourself and it'll be fine.

But I suggest you read the actual census question before commenting further.

Your income during covid isn't usual. So what? Census questions are not popped in and out depending on whats gone on that year, they are constent census after census (unlike tax laws, and income tax requirements), with questions added or dropped only after significant consideration. If its an anomalous year, then guess what? The census will record it as such, and we'll see the effect of covid on income though various professions, various areas, various ethnic groups etc. Who's affected most? Least? etc.



Again, just read the census question. And have a look at the comment on the form about the background to this question.
I've not read the census questions - do they ask income before deductions and offsets? I'm just starting my tax return lol
 

HappyFlyerFamily

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Short answer is yes ... but the list of inclusons is a bit longer ;) :cool:
So then the income for Census purposes may have nothing to do with a tax return given it excludes deductions, offsets and has a bit longer list of inclusions. Ok - glad we settled that issue
 

kpc

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Stupid question? You don't think its worthwhile to discover where areas of anomalous low income (poverty) is, so government can address services etc there? Or are services provided to Toorak OK to be the same as the same as, say Gagebrook? Ditto for education, health etc.

# The usual conspiracy theories aside.🤣
And you think people are going to mention their cash income, ill gotten gains from criminal activity, their income from overseas sources etc etc?! That's why it is a stupid Q...a lot of people are not going to answer it honestly so I wouldn't make any decisions based on the census declared income!
 

RooFlyer

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And you think people are going to mention their cash income, ill gotten gains from criminal activity, their income from overseas sources etc etc?! That's why it is a stupid Q...a lot of people are not going to answer it honestly so I wouldn't make any decisions based on the census declared income!

Sure, I think honest people will, dishonest people won't. But as I've said (a couple of times) before, its likely that the same people will lie and mislead on their census forms each time, so the data trends will be much the same. Have you seen the comment on the form why this question is asked?

But hey, if you lie on your census form, you don't get to complain so much on government decisions based on census data.

income for Census purposes may have nothing to do with a tax return given it excludes deductions, offsets and has a bit longer list of inclusions.

Exactly! Because income for census purposes is used for a completely different reason than on a tax declaration.
 

Lynda2475

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So then the income for Census purposes may have nothing to do with a tax return given it excludes deductions, offsets and has a bit longer list of inclusions. Ok - glad we settled that issue

Well no, because your tax return also has your income before deductions (much better information as it has gross income, plus net). And as others have observed people arent going to disclose cash in hand work or illegal income ont he census anymore than they are on a tax return.

Any government department ignoring ATO data and soley trusting census income declarations does us all a great disservice.

with questions added or dropped only after significant consideration

That is also questionable given the internet question (something that effects everyone) has been dropped and replaced with a question re military service (something the ADF can easily provide) which effects a many time smaller % of population.

Many of the employment questions do only reference last week:
  • Last week, did the person have a job of any kind?
  • In the main job held last week, was the person: Working for an employer/ Working in own business?
  • In the main job held last week, what was the person's occupation?
so it does not capture the usual occupations of those who didnt work in the week before the census. Why ask for usual income and not usual/last occupation? The questions are not nuanced enough.
 

Katie

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For those who care about their religious beliefs being classified correctly, and particularly if you don't have religious beliefs, there are two possible answers - No Religion, and Atheism. I believe they're in different questions (I didn't include Agnosticism, though maybe that's remiss of me).

Be aware that No Religion is coded differently for the statistics than Atheism is. They are not statistically the same, and the answers of Atheism I understand will be grouped under "Other Spiritual beliefs" rather than "No Religious Affiliation".

If this distinction is important to you, and how your answer might be aggregated in the understanding of what percentage of the Australian population follow a religious or spiritual belief, then consider your response.
 

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