OUT-OF TOWN workers who drive or fly into parts of regional Queensland will be forced to pour more of their income into the government purse with a plan to stop them claiming a tax break meant for locals.

By cracking down on these FIFO and DIDO workers from July 1, the government expects to claw in an extra $325 million.

The Zone Tax Offset is a rebate offered to those who live in certain isolated or remote areas.

This includes most towns north and west of Rockhampton where the climates are considered "uncongenial", that is: disagreeable or unpleasant.

Gladstone and Rockhampton residents are not given the rebate for living in their towns.

However, those in Mackay and other northern towns including Townsville and Cairns are paid $57 a year by the Australian Tax Office.

The ATO has long offered a financial incentive for those willing to live in certain areas.

Those in Mt Isa and Collinsville also qualify.

The Federal Government estimates that one-in-five who claim the Zone Tax Offset are unfairly taking advantage of the scheme by living in other centres.

To qualify for the tax break, they must work or live in one of these specific remote areas for more than 183 days a year.

For those FIFO workers who live in an area within the tax break area but must fly elsewhere to work, they will be able to keep the tax break.

The government expects the change will allow it to better target those entitled to the extra cash.

- APN NEWSDESK


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