FAIR SHARE: Former accountant Jolyon Forsyth has a new mission, to make sure Bill Shorten loses the next election.
FAIR SHARE: Former accountant Jolyon Forsyth has a new mission, to make sure Bill Shorten loses the next election. Campbell Gellie

88-year-old Mackay man's mission to protect his life savings

FORMER accountant Jolyon Forsyth has a new passion in his retirement - making sure Bill Shorten loses the next election.

The 88-year-old is funding his and his wife's retirement on the cash flow from his share dividends, an income that would be threatened under a proposed Labor crackdown intended to reap an estimated $59billion in revenue over the next decade.

If successful at the next federal election, the Labor Opposition Leader would target more than one million shareholders, including about 600,000 retirees, by changing a rule in place for almost 20 years.

The policy change would save the tax office $11billion in its first two years if introduced on July 1, 2019.

It was part of the "biggest set of tax reforms since Hawke and Keating ... making the tax system fairer", Mr Shorten said.

"Simply put, tipping billions in exemptions for the lucky few is the same as ripping billions out of schools and hospitals," he said.

"Every dollar allocated to tidy little arrangements for people who already have millions of dollars, is a dollar that can't be used to repair the budget, is a dollar that can't be used to bring Australia back to surplus."

Mr Shorten said 92 per cent of Australians did not receive the cash refunds, refunds that would be worth $5.6billion in 2019.

"With our ageing population this subsidy represents a ticking time bomb that must be defused," he said.

But for Mr Forsyth, a former president of the Council of Australian Investors Association, Mr Shorten's plan would cost him more than $10,000 a year, money he and his wife needed in their retirement.

He said he was not wealthy and did not have a superannuation fund, because they weren't popular when he was working, which was why he needed his investments to return dividends.

Under the current system, Mr Forsyth can claim the tax paid by the companies he has invested in because he does not fall into the tax bracket in which they were paid.

For example, if a company pays 30 per cent tax on its profits and then pays Mr Forsyth the remaining 70 per cent as a dividend, he can claim that 30 per cent back from the tax department because he is below the tax-paying threshold.

Mr Forsyth said those credits amounted to about $10,000 a year, or, at most, about $12,000.

"I have to do everything I can to inform my fellow self-funded retirees to stop the election of the Labor government," he said yesterday.

He said many people of his age did not have self-funded superannuation and used the credits to fund their retirement. The alternative would mean more people on the government pension.

Labor's stance has been labelled as "theft" by Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison who said Mr Shorten was "stealing" from pensioners and retirees.