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  • Writer's pictureEmilie Dye

Santa Claws at your cash

Updated: May 19, 2021

The Australian government isn’t into the Christmas spirit, taking when all we want is the gift of a fair go.

On the first day of Christmas the Australian government took from me a percentage of my income for the ‘good of the society’.

We all know the income tax. But did you know that we are taxed 125 unique and painful ways by the government?

The government is the grinch who stole our disposable income. According to the Henry Tax review, a mere 10 taxes account for 90 per cent of government revenue.

With the COVID-19 economic downturn, many policymakers are beginning to realise we cannot afford to waste resources on inefficient taxes.

Speaking of inefficient taxes, on the second day of Christmas my government charged me the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT). This disaster of a tax requires businesses to record all the perks they give their employees, whether it’s driving the company car, a gym membership, or additional training.

The ATO then demands 47 per cent of the value of these benefits back in tax.

On the third day of Christmas my government took from me a tax on hiring employees. The government has secured a spot on the naughty list for this one.

Payroll tax punishes businesses for hiring new staff and suppresses their wages.

On the fourth day of Christmas my government took from me an excise tax on things that make me happy. Alcohol, ciggies and gambling.

An $8 standard beer would only cost $4.50 without the alcohol tax. When did Christmas spirits become so expensive?

On the fifth day of Christmas the government took from me 41.8 cents for every litre of fuel I bought.

Proponents for the fuel tax claim the government needs the money for road infrastructure, but 75 per cent of the $15 billion collected in fuel taxes goes to general revenue. Suddenly a reindeer-led sleigh seems like a good alternative to driving.

If owning a car didn’t cost enough, on the sixth day of Christmas the government took from me 33 per cent of the value of my car for the Luxury Car Tax. Like many taxes in Australia, the Luxury Car Tax is not tied to inflation, so even the family SUV is taxed. On the seventh day of Christmas the government took from me 10 per cent of every purchase for the GST. When it was instituted, people claimed the GST would replace all other sales taxes. That was 20 years ago. On the eighth day of Christmas the government took from business 30 per cent of their income for the Corporate Tax. Many agree that Amazon, with its trick of earning nothing each year, and Netflix Australia, which pays tax in the Netherlands, should pay their fair share. But the corporate tax hits small businesses and not large multinational corporations; it slams consumers with higher prices; and it knocks workers out of high paying jobs because their employers simply can’t afford to pay such high taxes to the government. On the ninth day of Christmas the government took from me 30 per cent of the interest on my investment bonds. Many wonder why Australia has such high levels of personal debt and such low levels of savings. On the tenth day of Christmas the government took from me 10 per cent of my income and put it in involuntary superannuation funds then taxed it at 15 per cent. Talk about super bad! Rather than trusting Australians with their own money which could be spent on a house or on higher returning investments, the government thinks it knows best.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my government took from me insurance taxes.

Insurance duty is paid by the insurer, calculated on the premium. The insurance tax punishes a desirable behaviour — purchasing insurance. Many Australians are under or uninsured.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my government took from me cumbersome customs duties. W h e n goods are i m p o r t e d into Australia, the consumer must pay for the good’s value plus 5 per cent of that value for the customs duty. Then the consumer must pay GST on the whole value of the imported goods, that is the goods value plus the customs duty plus transport fees and insurance fees.

That’s a tax on a tax!

On the thirteenth day of Christmas …

Unfortunately for Australians, politicians have created more than twelve taxes, but in the name of the Christmas spirit I will stop here and wish you a Happy New Year!

This article first appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 21 December 2020.

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