The taxation system affects the fiscal welfare of individuals. Its operation is determined by a variety of economic, social and political considerations, and its impact depends not only on the tax laws themselves but also on income distribution and inflation. This paper reviews changes in the Australian personal income tax over the period from 1972/3 to 1980/1. The principal factors, such as exemption limits, tax rates, concessions for dependants and inflation are first dealt with separately, and then their combined effect is reviewed for taxpayers at various levels of income and responsibility for dependants. The general conclusion is that the burden of income tax has increased over the period for all incomes, except for very low earners who have become tax exempt through successive tax reforms. For others, there has been a small relative shift in the tax burden from high earners to those at middle or low income levels; and also a relative shift in the tax burden from taxpayers without dependants to those with dependant children and relatives.