Hello Cruel World
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Persistent Taxation Myth (repeat & update)
A Persistent Taxation Myth -- repeated, with variations
I keep hearing this myth of "they're taking away half my income" once you move into the highest tax bracket, in fact Sally Loane's finacial person this morning alluded to it. The only people who ever "lose half their money in tax" are very low earners who may lose large amounts of benefits by earning a small amount.

You only pay the marginal rate on **the money you get _above_ the limit**.

Last year I did this calculation, using the ATO figures in the table below, to show you need to be earning well up in the multiple $100,000s per annum to get close to 50%.

For 2003-2004, you'll pay a total of $16,182 tax at $62,500 -- that's 25.9% -- then start paying 47 cents of any dollar above that (not counting fancy bits off or on).

To get close to paying 47% of your total income you have to be getting much, much more, e.g. 42% tax on $262,500; 46% tax on $962,500.

Of course the "average" (i.e. the Mean) income is a bit over $50,000 pa, while the "average" that's closer to the one earned by most people (i.e. the Mode) is several thousand lower than that, so there's a very tiny group earning even only $100,000, or more. [Of course if a couple is earning that much combined, they each get the advantage of a tax-free zone and lower brackets, greatly reducing the amount of tax taken out compared to the same amount earned by one person.]

The total of ALL the people -- not just those *very* high earners -- who are in the highest bracket is only 12% of the whole population (not just taxpayers) meaning that 88% of Australians are on lower rates -- virtually all of whom would be using government supplied infrastructure & services.

Without the structures and services funded by taxes, the cost of living would be very much higher, and that 80-90% would find life considerably harder. I suspect even fairly wealthy people would find themselves with less truly-disposable income without the kind of often-forgotten foundation that public works & service provide.

The majority of us know that if we strike trouble - like my recent medical crises - we will need social support. Not just trustworthy & affordable health care, but, say, someone for the aged mother I care for, community nurses who aided my convalescence, meals on wheels, etc.

Even when you have help from family or friends, that support stops the total ruination that too often you see in both the third world & the US when a crisis hits. That fellow in the news tonight with a nail in his head just got a $US80,000 medical bill, and, being a self-employed building worker, he naturally can't afford full medical insurance. There's a big health-lending market there. That family has decades in unexpected debt that will drag them back in very many ways.

Tax rates 2001-02 and 2002-03
Taxable Tax on
income this income
$0 - $6,000 .............. Nil
$6,001 - $20,000 .... 17c for each $1 over $6,000
$20,001 - $50,000 .. $2,380 plus 30c for each $1 over $20,000
$50,001 - $60,000 .. $11,380 plus 42c for each $1 over $50,000
Over $60,000 .......... $15,580 plus 47c for each $1 over $60,000

Tax rates 2003-04
Taxable Tax on
income this income
$0 – $6,000 ............. Nil
$6,001 – $21,600 ... 17c for each $1 over $6,000
$21,601 - $52,000 .. $2,652 plus 30c for each $1 over $21,600
$52,001 – $62,500.. $11,772 plus 42c for each $1 over $52,000
Over $62,500 ........... $16,182 plus 47c for each $1 over $62,500

[None of these include assorted general rebates to deduct, nor the Medicare levy to add.]

Source: the Australian Taxation Office web site at www.ato.gov.au/individuals/ content.asp?doc=/content/12333.htm&mnu=5053&mfp=001
( www.ato.gov.au in general)
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 / . Lives in Australia/New South Wales/Sydney, speaks English. Eye color is hazel. I am what my mother calls unique. My interests are photography, reading, natural history/land use, town planning, sustainability.

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Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.