The heartless tax-paying few

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ACT reminds us how few of us actually die having been net contributors to the tax take.

Tax Numbers

Sometimes the press get it completely wrong.  This article on how much tax New Zealanders pay at different income levels was placed at the bottom of the Stuff website by editors but topped the ‘most-read’ section all day.  It tells us that three per cent of income earners pay 24 per cent of all income tax while 40 per cent receive more in cash benefits than they pay in tax.

What About Indirect Taxes?

But wait, those 40 per cent also pay GST and petrol and tobacco and alcohol excise taxes.  Yes they do, but so do all taxpayers.  Indirect taxes make up about a third of all taxes, with income taxes on business and personal income making up the other two thirds.  Could it be that many low income earners are net taxpayers once indirect taxes are considered?

But What About Non-cash Benefits?

Of course education, health, police, roads, conservation and so on are all non cash benefits.  They cost far more than the revenues that come from indirect taxes.  Indirect taxes do not make low income earners net taxpayers.

What About Lifecycle Effects?

A better objection is that more people are net taxpayers over their lifetime.  For instance a University Student puts a very high demand on the taxpayer but pays little tax, as does a typical super annuitant except with healthcare instead of education.  Free Press is not aware of a high quality study of net tax paid over a lifetime under the current scheme.

The Wash

Next time you hear Labour, the Greens, the unions, or some taxpayer funded talking head complain that we live in some sort of hardened careless hyper-capitalist wasteland, just remember we live in a country where three per cent of taxpayers pay a quarter of all income tax, and where 40 per cent receive more tax credits than they pay in tax, and where services received easily outweigh GST and other indirect taxes.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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