Griffith residents had the highest amount of taxable income in the MIA during the 2017-18 financial year, according to new figures released by the Australian Taxation Office.
Data from tax returns done for the 2017-18 financial year tax returns showed an average taxable income in Griffith's 2680 postcode of $51,189 across a total of 15,379 taxpayers, the highest mark for the postcode across the last five financial years.
However, while the average was the highest in the MIA, it still lagged behind Wagga Wagga and Albury, which saw an average taxable income of $56,870 and $56,000 respectively.
Data indicates 85 per cent of Griffith taxpayers reported wages or a salary as part of their earnings, with 10 per cent receiving income from rents and 6 per cent from a business.
The average salary for Griffith's taxpayers was $47,327 with the average tax bill coming to $13,479.
Partner at Roy Spagnolo and Associates Trent Rosato said while salaries for similar positions may be the same in Griffith as in other communities, a strong focus on manufacturing and seasonal work may be the reason the city lags behind places like Wagga and Albury.
"In Griffith, there is possibly more jobs in the lower-income brackets - for example farm-hands, agriculture, chicken factory workers," Mr Rosato said.
"Griffith also has a lot of seasonal work, there's possibly a lot of people like backpackers who come to Griffith, work for three months on a very basic income and then they leave.
"Across the board, Griffith - from all the statistics I've seen over the years - most occupations are not paid any less than the bigger cities."
However, Mr Rosato said the data plays a big role in helping both the ATO and the three levels of government track how well industries are performing and with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic afflicting businesses during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years, the data from 2017-18 will help represent an average benchmark for many industries.
"The statistics show income medians per demographic ... that's going to be so immensely effected by COVID-19," Mr Rosato said.
"If you worked in tourism, obviously your business for the last three, four months has dropped significantly - whereas if you worked in IT where people have been working from home offices and had to buy new computers... your business has had a major upturn.
"The statistics for the 17-18 year can help the ATO with businesses that lodge their returns in that period because they can benchmark all industries across that period ... Griffith is still operating fairly well compared to the rest of Australia in terms of what we've seen in tax returns so far, but at the same time there's still going to be spikes in the average data from 17-18 to 19-20, 20-21."
Mr Rosato said changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic - such as an increase to the limit for businesses to immediately write-off purchases - may see data like recorded deductions increase over the incoming years.
"Deductions have increased for the last couple of years because the government has allowed that immediate asset write-off," Mr Rosato said.
"Any asset that you brought for less than $30,000 if you were a small business could be written off for depreciation purposes ... now because of Covid the immediate deduction bracket is $150,000.
"That means a small business can buy a machine for less than $150,000 and claim it immediately - so all of a sudden your deductions have increased significantly."
While the data from the 17-18 year can also provide a benchmark for businesses to compare against, Mr Rosato said the figures can also provide the ATO a measure on which to track how industries are performing on a wider scale, which may help the government make further decisions as to the implementation of programs such as JobKeeper.
"As a business owner, if your figures are significantly outside those benchmarks you would either have to look at your own business operations as to why and how or be prepared for the ATO to ask questions later on," Mr Rosato said.
"It doesn't necessarily mean if your outside the benchmarks your business is not operating correctly, it just gives you an idea of how your competitors are operating.
"Going forward what they're doing at the moment is they are still checking people's activity statements so they can still see which industries have picked up or are still suffering ... some industries have picked up since the early days of COVID-19 but others are still very much struggling, so businesses will have to review their figures and calculate whether there's an up-turn or down-turn in their sales over the next three months to stay eligible for JobKeeper."