READER REPORT:

Election issues: Let's talk about tax

STEERSMAN WIXON
Last updated 05:00 16/04/2014
tax
TAX UTOPIA: Unlike our neighbours over the ditch, we are taxed on the first dollar we earn, writes Steersman Wixon.

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The tax laws in New Zealand are grossly unfair.

Unlike our neighbours over the ditch, we are taxed on the first dollar we earn.

So, the first lesson a young adult learns is that the you have to give to the government first.

Sometimes this is grossly unfair.

For example, carer support payments, which, according to the Ministry of Health are not salary or wages, but reimbursement for expenses incurred for the care of aged and disabled persons living in their own homes.

Carers receive the princely sum of $75 for a full day's care.

Divide this by 10 and it works out at about half the minimum wage.

Out of this they have to take their petrol and vehicle expenses and then Inland Revenue take tax usually at the secondary rate.

This means the person is caring for their relative for about $5 per hour.

Many people give up full time employment to provide carer support for their loved ones out of love and a sense of duty.

They are actually saving the government money.

Were the loved one to go into full-time care, it would cost the tax-payer around $800 per week.

Surely, on the grounds of compassion, carer support payments should be tax-free and if I ruled the world, they would be.

I would also stop throwing taxpayers money at royal tours and yacht races. I would not be giving millions to the Department of Conservation to restore old war huts and bridges on remote islands.

Let's be fair.

I would hold MPs accountable for travel and curtail their many freebees.

After all, they get a more than generous salary to live on.

Incidentally, did you know that Inland Revenue have no actual definition of income under NZ law?

They simply say it is anything that comes into the household via cash or goods.

So does that mean that the free plums I receive from my neighbours' trees which I then turn into plum sauce for family use need to be taxed? Something to think about.


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