Workers left guessing on budget tax relief

Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent
Treasurer Scott Morrison will hand down the budget on Tuesday

As federal politicians return to Canberra for Tuesday's handing down of the budget, workers are wondering how much they will be better off from the much-promised personal income tax cuts.

While these tax cuts have been flagged for months, there is little detail on what form they will take other than they will initially be aimed at low and middle-income earners.

However, Treasurer Scott Morrison has conceded they won't be "mammoth" but they will be affordable.

Such reductions will come when the government still has unfinished business from a previous budget - business tax cuts.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann insists he is still open for discussion with the Senate crossbench having fallen short of the numbers to pass the reduction form 30 per cent to 25 per cent for all businesses.

If the government fails to get sufficient support in the coming weeks and months, the 10-year plan will be taken to the next election.

But chair of the Australian Institute of Company Directors Elizabeth Proust argues focusing on company tax reductions without wholesale tax reform won't put the economy in a sustainable position in the longer term.

"What we need from the government and the opposition is an adult conversation with the people of Australia to talk about what is needed in the long term," she told Sky News.

A recent survey of her members found they want to see reform first in the GST - raising the rate and broadening the base - then personal income taxes, and followed by company taxes.

"There is a level of complacency, a dependency on too few taxes and we haven't had any reform of taxes or other matters for quite some years now."