What is the Medicare Levy Surcharge?
The Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) is an extra 1-1.5% tax incurred by those who earn over a certain threshold and do not have eligible private hospital cover. The MLS is applied on top of the 2% Medicare Levy that most Australians pay as part of their taxes. (Certain low income earners and other tax payers are exempt from the MLS.)
Medicare Levy Surcharge for singles
For the 2014-2015 financial year, the income threshold for singles is $90,000. So if you earn over $90,000 and do not have eligible private hospital cover, you will be charged an extra 1-1.5% tax in the form of the MLS.
Medicare Levy Surcharge for couples and families
For the 2014-2015 financial year, the income threshold for couples and families (including single parent families) is $180,000. So, if you earn a combined household income over $180,000 and do not have eligible private hospital cover, you will be charged an extra 1-1.5% tax in the form of the MLS.
However, special rules apply for families with children. The MLS threshold rises by $1,500 for each dependent child after the first, so if you have two children, the threshold becomes $181,500; if you have three children, the threshold becomes $183,000, etc.
How can I avoid paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge?
To avoid paying the extra MLS tax, simply take out hospital cover that suits your lifestyle and budget. In fact, you could even find a cheap hospital cover that costs less than the MLS, so you can save money and still have modest cover.
To be exempt from the MLS, you may not choose an excess payment greater than $500 for singles or $1,000 for couples and families.
These articles are provided as reference material to allow more informed decision making, but are not intended as being a complete source of information on any topic. All readers should make their own independent analysis on the topic to make sure they have considered the aspects that are important to them.