Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Taxed Enough Already

Will Ireland soon have it's own TEA party? Probably not in the short term, but possibly by the time Budget 2012 rolls around later next year. This thought struck me in light of the findings of a report published by my company: The Taxpayers' Perspective. The report is based on a survey last month of Irish adults about their views on taxation and the Government's budget challenges.

The main findings are that:
  • Irish employees pay an average of 26% of their wages or salaries in taxes and other deductions, and would on average be willing to see this rise to 29%.
  • However, almost half (49%) of all employees feel that their deductions are ‘too high’ already, and only one worker in fifty thinks that their deductions are too low.
  • Just over half (53%) of all adults (including employees and those not in employment) feel that they pay more than their fair share of taxes right now.
  • Over six in ten (63%) feel that people on low incomes should not have to pay income tax.
  • Only one in four thinks that we have a fair tax system in Ireland.
  • Only one in ten trusts the Government to spend taxpayers’ money wisely.
  • However, one in three adults thinks that the Government should introduce a property tax to fund local authorities.
Irish taxpayers appear to be a little 'conflicted' right now. On the one hand they feel that they are taxed enough already (as in 'tea'), and they think the government does not use taxpayers' money wisely, but they think that taxes should be increased to fund the looming budget. Sure, some of it will come from their own taxes (including income tax), but I suspect they may have in mind "other peoples' taxes".

So will the next twelve months (or four years for that matter) see the emergence of an Irish tea party? On the present evidence I don't think so. But there will undoubtedly be a growing constituency for a political party that looks out for the interests of taxpayers. Today's reluctant consensus on the need to raise taxes is unlikely to long survive the reality of continually rising taxes in the years ahead.

The Taxpayers' Perspective November 2010
View more presentations from Amárach Research.

Postscript: oops! labels on slide 34 were inadvertently transposed - that'll teach me to do this at 6.00am in the morning! Makes more sense in the corrected version.

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