There’s a lot of noise in the media about tax avoidance. We’re getting upset about corporate tax dodges. We’re tired of the rich not paying tax. Some even say that this is bad news for a government more interested in cutting health, education, and welfare than in holding the rich to account.
But the truth is that ordinary people complain about tax all the time. It’s very tempting to find every possible legal and dodgy way to minimise your own tax. We all want more money in the bank. We all hate the government (well, all of us except perhaps NewsCorp, whose attitude to their own tax is well known), and the thought of giving the government money – our money – is naturally repulsive. Everybody likes a nice fat tax return. We can even rationalise our position by saying that they’ll only spend it on wars and expensive dinners for Tony Abbott anyway.
But here’s the thing. Those taxes we don’t want to pay? They pay for education – yes, even those of you who pay a fortune to send your children to private schools are wildly subsidised by the government (don’t get me started on that one!). They pay for hospitals, doctors, and medical tests. They pay for roads, for police, for ambulances, and for firefighters. They make our very lives possible.
So next time you are thinking about tax, and trying to find ways to minimise your own contribution, ask yourself this: Which schools will you close to reduce your tax? Which patients will you turn away from the Emergency Department? Which roads will you leave unrepaired, and which fires should we choose not to fight? If you’re robbed, will you choose not to call the police, because you would rather pay less tax? If you’re sick, will you choose not to go to the doctor, so that you can use the latest tax dodge instead?
Adam Hills is so right (and so, so funny) when he says we need famous people to say they’re doing their bit and paying their tax. The Last Leg crew make tax both hilarious and compelling – and who knew that was even possible?? We need more like them. We need everyone to recognise the point of tax. It’s time we realised that taxation is fundamental to our way of life. If you don’t like the way the government spends your taxes, write to them, lobby them, start petitions, run for politics yourself! This is a democracy, and we can all have a voice. But above all, do your bit. Pay your tax.