Friday, July 27, 2012

A timely question

The NBR released its national rich list yesterday, showing the enormous wealth that the elite have accumulated. Meanwhile, the CTU asks a timely question: How many of these people pay their taxes? Sadly, the answer is "not enough" of them:

“According to information released to us last month by IRD, 50% of the wealthiest kiwis dodge their tax responsibilities.”

“In annual samples of 184 ‘high wealth individuals’ between 2009 and 2011, IRD found that only 49.5% of them reported personal incomes of more than $70,000 (the top tax bracket). This indicates that some of our wealthiest individuals are skirting on their tax contribution.”

Internationally, tax evasion by the rich costs governments $3.1 trillion US dollars. And just last week, we learned they'd stashed over US$21 trillion in offshore tax havens. Its time we cracked down on this, by closing loopholes, regularly auditing the wealthy, and busting trusts. The CTU also suggests a capital gains tax, and a more progressive tax system with higher rates on those earning twice or three times the median wage. Which sounds like a bloody good idea to me.