The taxation system and a 'fair go'

SubjectCivics & Citizenship YearYear 7 CurriculumAC v8.4 Time100

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Students explore the basic structure of the Australian income tax system and start to form views about the fairness of a progressive income tax system. They review aspects of the system to understand how tax is collected and how the income tax system is designed to support Australians and promote a ‘fair go’.

Australian Curriculum or Syllabus

Achievement standard

By the end of Year 7, students explain features of Australia’s Constitution, including the process for constitutional change. They explain how Australia’s legal system is based on the principle of justice. Students explain the diverse nature of Australian society and identify the importance of shared values in promoting a cohesive society.

When researching, students develop a range of questions and gather and analyse information from different sources to investigate Australia’s political and legal systems. They consider different points of view on civics and citizenship issues. When planning for action, students take into account multiple perspectives to develop solutions to an issue. Students develop and present arguments on civics and citizenship issues using appropriate texts, terms and concepts. They identify ways they can be active and informed citizens.

Content descriptions

Civics and Citizenship Knowledge and Understanding

How values, including freedom, respect, inclusion, civility, responsibility, compassion, equality and a ‘fair go’, can promote cohesion within Australian society (ACHCK052).

Civics and Citizenship Skills 

Identify, gather and sort information and ideas from a range of sources (ACHCS055).

Appreciate multiple perspectives and use strategies to mediate differences (ACHCS057).

Use democratic processes to reach consensus on a course of action relating to a civics or citizenship issue and plan for that action (ACHCS058).

Present evidence-based civics and citizenship arguments using subject-specific language (ACHCS059).

Reflect on their role as a citizen in Australia’s democracy (ACHCS060).

Student learning resources

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Tax and you


Tax rates


ATO’s simple tax calculator

How to

Writing paragraphs in Civics and Citizenship


Hierarchy of human needs

Suggested activity sequence

This sequence is intended as a framework to be modified and adapted by teachers to suit the needs of a class group. If you assign this activity to a class, your students will be assigned all student resources on their 'My learning' page. You can also hand-pick the resources students are assigned by selecting individual resources when you add a work item to a class in 'My classes'.

Part A: Exploring tax

  1. Pose the question: We pay tax every day, but do you know when you paid tax today?

  2. Students complete the first level of the Tax and you interactive

  3. Review responses for:

    • Income pay slip

      Explain: One of the ways tax revenue is collected in Australia is through personal income tax. If you earn over $18,200 in a financial year, you'll pay personal income tax. This is a direct deduction from your pay according to set rates. The more you earn, the greater the percentage deducted.

    • T-shirt

      Explain: One of the ways tax revenue is collected in Australia is through the goods and services tax, also known as GST. In Australia, GST is charged on the supply of most goods and services, including clothing. The GST rate is currently 10%.

    • World Vision sponsor child.

      Explain: Donating to charity is a worthwhile act and is encouraged by the Australian Government. All donations to approved organisations (deductible gift recipients - DGR) are exempt from tax and may even be claimed as a tax deduction by the donor if they are $2 or more in value. This means that your World Vision sponsorship decreases the amount tax you need to pay.

  4. Pose the question: Is it fair that you pay tax when you buy a t-shirt but not pay tax when you donate to a World Vision sponsor child?  Students respond individually by recording their view on fairness in 2 or 3 sentences.

  5. Invite student responses.

Part B: Exploring fairness of the income tax system

  1. As a class, read the tax rates worksheet and explain the following terms and concepts to students:

    • The meaning of average rate of tax (ART).

    • How ART is calculated (shown on worksheet).

    • The meaning of the term ‘taxable income’ (Income earned after taking away all allowable deductions, for example, work related expenses).

    • The different tax rates for each income threshold.

  2. Students or pairs of students complete the worksheet. They will need to access the ATO simple tax calculator.

  3. Post the statement: It is fair that people who earn more taxable income should pay a larger proportion (percentage) of it in tax than people who earn a smaller amount.

  4. Invite students to work in pairs and discuss the statement.

  5. Students refer to the Writing paragraphs in Civics and Citizenship to write a paragraph justifying, or otherwise, the progressive design of the tax system (as indicated by the statement).

  6. Students share responses with the class.

Part C: Exploring and clarifying fairness in the Australian tax system

  1. Post the statement about the needs of living things: All living things have needs and humans have particular needs. We meet some needs by ourselves. For needs that cannot be met by us individually, we come together and contribute for the common good. The life circumstance of some people means they are unable to provide for some of the most basic necessities of living and they depend on society for help.

  2. Question students about the meaning of the statement.

  3. Use the hierarchy of human needs worksheet to introduce the concept of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, that is, some needs have to be met before we can attend to others. Provide an example and explain that group 1 needs (biological) must be met before we attend to group 2 needs (safety) and so on. Students suggest terms on the worksheet that need explanation.

  4. In pairs, students complete the worksheet.

  5. A spokesperson for selected pairs reports to the class.

  6. Pose the question: Does a fair society have a responsibility to ensure that the basic needs of all citizens are met?

  7. Invite individual students to present their view.

  8. Students record in 2 sentences the consequence for society if one of the basic needs is not met, for example, people do not have clean water to drink or a person does not have employment.