The ATO Longitudinal Information Files (ALife): A New Resource for Retirement Policy Research

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 04/20

Date: April 2020

Author(s):

Cain Polidano
Andrew Carter
Marc Chan
Abraham Chigavazira
Hang To
Justin Holland
Son Nguyen
Ha Vu
Roger Wilkins

Abstract

The Australian Taxation Office release of annual longitudinally linked individual tax and superannuation records, known as the ATO Longitudinal Information Files (ALife), opens-up opportunities for new research. In this study, we provide an overview of ALife, focusing on its use for retirement income research. To this end, we provide the first longitudinal estimates of superannuation outcomes for one-year birth cohorts. Results show marked increase in disparity of super balances in the lead-up to retirement as those in the top quartile ramp-up their contributions, possibly to take advantage of the favourable tax treatment of superannuation income in retirement years.

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