Labour campaigns on introducing new top income tax rate of 39% for income over $180k; Rules out introducing new taxes or making further increases in the next term of government

Labour campaigns on introducing new top income tax rate of 39% for income over $180k; Rules out introducing new taxes or making further increases in the next term of government
Grant Robertson. Getty Images.

Labour is pledging to introduce a new top income tax rate of 39% for income over $180,000, if re-elected into government.

This would be an increase from 33% currently applied to income over $70,000. 

The purpose of the change would be to generate revenue to pay for the Covid-19 recovery and “keep a lid on debt”.

The new bracket is forecast to generate $550 million of revenue a year.

It’s expected to affect 2% of New Zealanders.

Labour is also pledging to continue working with the OECD to find a solution to the issue of multi-national corporations not paying “their share” of tax.

The party stressed, “Today’s announcement is the full extent of Labour’s revenue policy for the 2020 election.”

Labour’s finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said: “Labour will not implement any new taxes or make any further increases to income tax next term. We have already committed to not raising fuel taxes in the Government transport plan that covers the next term.”

He said the new rate would see an individual earning $200,000 a year pay an extra $23 a week. Here’s a further breakdown of what the tax change would mean:

Stability, certainty, balance

Pressed in a media conference on why Labour wasn’t being bolder by targeting income earned from assets, proposing a higher rate than 39%, or a lower threshold than $180,000, Robertson stressed his focus was on providing “certainty”, “stability” and striking the right “balance”.

“I’m a realist and I’m a pragmatist and we are in the middle of a one in 100-year shock to our economy,” Robertson said.

“What is needed right now is certainty and stability. For 98% of New Zealanders there is no change in this policy. That is important to me.

“We will continue to work on the issues that New Zealanders care about. That is reducing inequality, getting more houses built.”

Could the Greens’ wealth tax still slip through?

Asked whether he would rule out further tax changes, such as those advocated for by the Green Party, should Labour need its support to form a government, Robertson said: “This is the policy that Labour is campaigning on and we will only implement the changes that are in this policy.”

The Green Party is campaigning on taxing income over $100,000 at 37%, and income over $150,000 at 42%. It also wants to tax debt free wealth over $1 million at 1%.

National jumped at the opportunity to scaremonger.

Its finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith said: “Robertson wouldn’t say if his tax policy is a bottom line in any coalition negotiations with the Greens, leaving the door wide open for other tax increases…

“This is just the beginning. Labour will eventually widen the net and come after middle income earners.”

Meanwhile Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson said: “What is being proposed by Labour is long overdue, but it is tinkering that won’t address the long-term challenges facing Aotearoa. It shows the importance of having the Greens around the table of the next Government.

“New Zealand has increasing poverty and inequality. This is now getting worse, because the Covid-19 response is increasing the wealth of those who own property and shares, whilst the median income of working New Zealanders is falling.”

Proposed change still low by international standards

Selling its policy, Labour said: “New Zealand’s top tax rate will still be in the bottom third within the OECD - a group of 36 advanced economies - and will be lower than many of the countries we compare ourselves to, including Australia.

“For example, Australia has a top income tax rate of 47% for income above A$180,000. Australia also has a 39% tax rate for income above A$90,000 (both rates include Australia’s 2% Medicare levy).”

The Tax Working Group, in its final report delivered in early 2019, noted: “Many submissions called for increasing top personal tax rates in order to enable policies that would make a material reduction in income inequality through the personal tax system.

“As such increases are precluded by the Group’s Terms of Reference the Group did not undertake an analysis of the options (and their effectiveness).”

Income tax brackets won’t be adjusted for inflation

Robertson said Labour didn’t do any modelling around bracket creep.

Meanwhile National wants to adjust income tax brackets according to inflation. The idea is to prevent taxpayers from moving into higher tax brackets when their incomes aren't keeping up with rising living costs. 

This is how income is currently taxed:

  • Any income up to $14,000: 10.5%
  • Extra income over $14,000 and up to $48,000: 17.5%
  • Extra income over $48,000 and up to $70,000: 30%
  • Extra income over $70,000: 33%

Union disappointed Labour didn't focus on wealth and assets

The Public Service Association released this statement in response to Labour's policy:

The Public Service Association says Labour’s announcement of a new 39% tax rate on income over $180,000 is a step in the right direction that makes more funding possible for healthcare, education and income support for struggling New Zealanders.

The union notes, however, that the proposed tax increase will cover only those taxed under PAYE. This excludes many of the wealthiest New Zealanders, who often report personal incomes well below $180,000.

"We’re pleased to see Labour policies that can help shift New Zealand in a more equal direction, and we know PSA members will be happy to see more money available for essential public and community services," says PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay.

In 1998 Finance Minister Michael Cullen introduced a 39% tax rate on income over $60,000 a year.

John Key’s National Government later introduced tax cuts for the wealthy in 2008 and 2010, reducing the top rate to 33% on income over $70,000 a year.

The PSA is disappointed to see no consideration of a tax focused on the wealth and assets of the super-rich.

"While we welcome this policy, it’s important to be realistic about it as well. Even factoring in inflation, this policy still represents only a partial rollback of National’s tax cuts for the rich," says Mr Barclay.

"We think politicians need to propose bolder policies to deal with rampant inequality and ensure New Zealand’s social safety net is fully funded and resourced. It’s a shame Labour isn’t yet prepared to reverse all the harmful tax policies of the past, but it’s still good to see proposals for positive change."

Taxing multi-nationals

Turning to the second part of Labour’s tax policy, Robertson said: “Labour will continue to work to get an international agreement that will see a comprehensive regime for multinational corporations to pay their fair share. But we also need to be prepared to put in place our own rules to ensure fairness, if that agreement is not possible.

“We will be prepared to implement a Digital Services Tax (DST). Current projections from IRD estimate a DST will raise between $30 million and $80 million of revenue a year.

“A DST would be very narrowly targeted and would not apply to sales of goods or services, but rather to digital platforms which depend on a base of users for income from advertising or data.”

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161 Comments

19
up

NZ does need an upper band. Having the top rate kick in at ~$70k is a bit silly.

The politics is a much more complicated issue though.

It does indeed, but it is all bands that need to be adjusted, having someone earning 71K paying one fifth of their salary in taxes is outrageous.

On the other hand we still have a corporate tax which is lower than that the income tax, which is applied to not income but benefits, equivalent to you or me paying our taxes on just whatever we can save at the end of the month, which is ridiculous by all standards. I guess Labour is not so labour after all.

Also someone please tell politicians what a function is, no need for bands or upper or lower bands.

EDIT: fixed the percentages.

The tax on an annual income of $71k is $14,350 (approx 20% tax rate).

MARGINAL rates are bands with different tax rates applied as you move through the bands. See:
Income up to $14,000 taxed at 10.5% ($1,470.00)
Income over $14,000 and up to $48,000, taxed at 17.5% ($5,950.00)
Income over $48,000 and up to $70,000, taxed at 30% ($6,600.00)
Remaining income over $70,000, taxed at 33% ($330.00)
= $14,350.00

A lot of people don't understand how marginal rates work, including politicians.

You are right, a lot of people do not. I fixed the wrong percentage.

You're right that it's widely misunderstood. So much so that it should really be no surprise that tax policy is difficult to get right, when so few understand even this.

Buffet and Gates would be proud of New Zealand.

13
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Agree that a higher tax rate is needed. Perfectly happy to pay the extra tax on income over $180,000

16
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Typical... ignore all advice which led to the removal of the previous 39c tax rate. Watch the pick up in use of family trusts and the like to ensure this aint paid.

Its just a stupid Envy tax that's clumsily implemented.

14
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What tax wouldn't you class as an envy tax?

Good point... how about a tax cut and let me decide where it should be spent.

All taxes are envy taxes, indeed. Must be a lot of envy from those making capital gains of those who have more professional skills, that we only tax income.

There are countries with lower taxes and more pay-your-own approaches to services. Singapore, USA etc.

andyb,

So once you get your tax cut-and the bigger the better presumably- will you put some of it aside to fund the structure of a decent first-world society? You know, the sort of stuff you expect to have, schools, roads, hospitals, police, the fire service, good quality water, sewage disposal and so on.
No? i thought not. You want someone else to pay for that, while you contribute as little as possible. Sounds a little selfish doesn't it?

That would be a credible argument if the people who collect the taxes weren't also clearly incapable of maintaining or developing infrastructure to meet the needs of the population they take the tax from.

Tax avoidance case law was strengthened right before the 39% rate was abolished. Would be a lot harder in light of case law to avoid top tax rate now.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penny_and_Hooper_case

Case law already looks through intermediaries in reassessment of tax due... this includes Trusts and Companies

37
up

Cowards. Can't do a CGT or land tax, so chicken out and do something that affects 2% of salary earners.
Really lame. Transformational my ass.
If you are going to do this, do it at circa 130k

Can't do a CGT or land tax, so chicken out and do something that affects 2% of salary earners.

Simple reason for that. A CGT or land tax would quite possibly push more than a few off the edge in terms of h'hold finances. Listen to the shrieks of protest on council rates.

Fine. But then do a proper income tax amendment, rather than this lame, cowardly change.
I earn well north of 100K, I wouldn't have any problem with paying a little more tax if it meant we got a proper health and education system.

Spend more then... you’ll be just as beneficial if not more so than having these retards decide where your tax should be spent

No sense, a CGT is applied on capital GAINS, meaning you pay when you have a capital gain, by no means can this affect household finances in a negative way.

That is just nonsense . Consider CGT implications of moving house that has gone up in price - to an equivalent and equivalently priced house.

I didn't expect CGT or land tax at this election, but I do think it irresponsible for Robertson to say no new taxes and no fuel tax hikes during the next term. Nuts, really - given they have no idea how bad things might get over the next 3 years. They really should leave the door open for alternate/new taxes and changes to the existing regime should they become necessary.

But they can propose those alternate/new taxes for the following election and let the electorate decide.

They are just Politicians. What you you expect, them talking sense. just the usual Blah Blah Lets get them tackling the real problems not just collecting and redistributing taxpayers money.

They haven't ruled out implementing coalition policy aka Greens

Problem is when they don't say that they extend the invite to troglodytes to shriek about how free money from housing will be taxed and land ripped out from under the blessed "ma and pa investors" etc.

17
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They just won't touch property will they. That's it, I'm buying.

If you want to pay rent for your own assets go find a communist dictatorship to settle down in.

10
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Er, okay.

22
up

Bizarre that one sort of income gets taxed heavily and unearned income not at all. Vested interests, the loudest shriekers etc.

The income earned from land (rent) is taxed. And, just like all other assets, if it was purchased for profit the realised capital gain is taxed upon sale.

I have no problem if people want to make a logical argument for extending the bright-line test (a tax disadvantage for land that other assets aren’t subjected to). However, charging people what amounts to annual rent for their own assets is illogical and immoral.

And, just like all other assets, if it was purchased for profit the realised capital gain is taxed upon sale.

Generally agree with your opinion DD. However, the price of property has been financialized to the extent where it "has to be" purchased for capital gain. The idea that property is purchased like a consumption good is not realistic or practical in a bubble economy like that of NZ. The fact that most of NZ's 'savings' is wrapped up in their home, it makes sense that it was purchased for 'profit.'

"The fact that most of NZ's 'savings' is wrapped up in their home, it makes sense that it was purchased for 'profit.'"

Or.... houses are really expensive and it takes most of our working lives to pay them off?

They tax kiwisaver that way and shares in international equities outside NZ and Australia so why not tax capital gains? They are robbing kiwisavers of the compounding benefits by taxing on shares on an unrealised basis and even if you make a loss for the year like the year to 31 March 20. The cost can be hundreds of thousands of dollars less being available at retirement. That's what is immoral to me and the worst part is most contributors to kiwisaver are unaware of this.

Exactly, this is where property capital gains has a major advantage over other assets and needs to be changed.

This is not a valid analogy. The FIF system taxes imputed/estimated income as a proxy for actual income for the sake of efficiency. Essentially just estimating/guessing how much income was earned and then taxing that instead of working out how much was actually earned and taxing that. To be analogous to land value tax they would be taxing the actual income from the shares (analogous to land rent) and also taxing the value of the shares themselves annually. You can see the fundamental difference?

I think you might also be confusing Capital Gains Tax (potentially logical & moral) with Land Value Tax (illogical & immoral)

No i don't agree. The FIF regime is a made up tax fiction it doesnt exist anywhere else in the world. They dont do it for "efficiency". One can easily work out what dividends you received in a year. The tax paid is always greater than the dividends received. They are taxing the capital. If you invest in shares the returns are dividends. If you invest in rental properties the returns are rents. With the FIF regime you can get taxed at the start of the year on a deemed amount even if you have lost half of your capital at the end of the year. This is what happened this year but more like equities were down 25% to 30%. It robs investors of the benefits of unrealised gains compounding.

It sounds like you are making an argument against FIF tax, not an argument for land value tax.

Dividends/income received from foreign investments are not directly taxable. Instead, taxable FIF income is attributed to the taxpayer based on the fair dividend rate (FDR) method.

I want a realized capital gains tax on everything. Family homes can get roll over relief if the new home is bought within 3 months of sale. Happy to pay it. Fully aware dividends from foreign share are not taxed. So if you receive nothing in a year you pay nothing. Same with your investments in kiwisaver. So yes i want FDR / FIF regime scrapped.

At least this CGT argument is coherent. Land value tax on the other hand is moronic, irrational.

It only becomes somewhat coherent if the gains are inflation - adjusted . Otherwise it is just one more incentive to print , print , print .

Oreo you really do need to read up on the FDR regime (note it's called an FDR NOT FIF) Most overseas shares pay a very low dividend rate but have (potentially) high CG. Therefore the tax is levied at the Fair Dividend Rate of 5% of CG/annum for offshore equities. If you'd purchased NZX registered securities , you would pay the appropriate tax rate on Divy's (your marginal rate) but no tax on CG. The FDR regime was designed to discourage investment in offshore markets, but if you chose to do so then that is the cost. Bottom line is, as Mr Robertson said today.."there are no free lunches". If you want to play offshore - that's on you.

Your are clearly a Robertson fanboy but his slogan today was a joke as he is serving up free lunches to all the untaxed capital gains made on rental houses in NZ. I just hope they did not pay more money to the two PR companies that got the $16m for the team of 5 million.

Back to your post. It doesn't apply to Australian stocks so your rationale above is shot down right there. The reason it doesent apply to Australian stocks is purely from politically lobby at the last minute before it was passed. The FDR is a method of the Foreign Investor Fund (FIF) regime it is not a regime itself. There are actually other methods too CV etc all part of the FIF regime not the FDR regime. So you are talking complete rubbish like you last comments on my last post. I started advising clients on it in the 1990's so I understand a lot better than you. This claim most overseas companies don't pay very low dividends is based on what? Cullens press release when he came up with it apply to former grey list countries. If you invest in say ITW Stock on NYSE you get a 2.35% dividend so then why should one be paying tax on 5% of the capital value on an unrealised basis? I am happy to pay CGT on the sale of the shares but when they are realised not on an unrealised basis under the FIF regime which is a tax fiction that some bureaucrats made up and only exists in NZ because it would bring in lots of tax.

What an absolute unmitigated, uneducated ramble. Read the IRD FDR position!!. FDR applies to any non NZ registered Company, offshore exchange registered or not , If the company is NZ registered with it's HQ registered in NZ then regardless of it's exchange listing it is treated tax wise as a NZ Company. You really need to read the scriptures , cos right now you're either paying tax needlessly or losing funds.. or both. Like I said - get a new broker or do some research and invest directly

I read legislation called the Income Tax Act. Likely a bit complicated for you. But since you like the IRD website https://www.ird.govt.nz/tasks/check-if-australian-shares-are-exempt-from... . See this link. You put in the ASX Code (thats the Australian Stock Exchange) and IRD has a Check if Australian shares are exempt from foreign investment fund rules. Note the FIF rules not FDR! I invest directly in the US market dont worry about dishing out advice. So the FIF rules dont apply to the majority of the ASX meaning the FIF rules dont apply and you dont have to use the FDR or CV method to tax your investment and you pay only on dividends received. Again the ASX is the Australian stock exchange... Please advise your thoughts now.

FDR method is the default method.
Australian companies are exempt.
There is also $50k deminis exemption for natural persons with cost of acquisition <$50k.
There are also other methods that are applied in some cases with general option for individual to switch between FDR and Comparative Value method.
Dividends received while in the FIF regime are exempt from tax.
Also foreign taxes paid are given credit to the extent foreign imputed income is liable for NZ tax

FDR (fair Dividend Rate) is not a regime. It is a method used to calculate FIF income on shares subject to the FIF (Foreign Investment Fund) regime.

FDR is 5% of share portfolio value at start of the tax year and therefore is essentially deemed income as no dividend may even be paid in that tax year.

See https://www.ird.govt.nz/-/media/project/ir/documents/forms-and-guides/ir...

11
up

Hmmmm. I seem to remember Cullen introducing 39% top tax rate in the noughties, thus driving income of the wealthy into non-taxed areas, primarily tax-free capital gains, & thus igniting the house price bubble.

Is he causing history to repeat, making housing & farms etc even more out of reach of the poor & renters?

The Clark/Cullen ensemble played that as being Jim Anderton’s hand. You know, we are obliged to do so. That is how coalitions work don’t you know. Certainly if it is a Labour/Greens government, exactly the same card will be then played. That is, the Greens will “force” Labour to introduce greater taxation increases. Same tune, new orchestra.

Bollocks. Helen Clark campaigned on a 39% tax rate, I remember her being interviewed on Holmes about it.

This article agrees https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=1292357

In the overall scheme of things, the extra tax may be small beer - about 1 per cent of the Government's Budget - but it was the key to Labour's pitch at the 1999 election.

Oh dear, so dear old Jim didn’t really need to do all that TV fronting and beseeching afterall. Wonder why he thought he did then? Labour and the Alliance had agreed to form a coalition prior to the 1999 election. That was part of the agreement, whether before or after same argument applies. Nice turn of phrase though at the time “soak the rich, “ ie 60k pa plus. Jim’s words I do recall.

So entirely unlike the current situation then, where they have not formed a coalition before the election, and Grant Robertson has said that Labour's policy is what will be implemented

Tks, but all the same tend to agree more with Dollar-Bill’s post 8.25am - they haven’t ruled out implementing coalition policy aka Greens

This is what Grant Robertson said:

Robertson said Labour’s tax policy would be the full extent of any tax changes.

“This is Labour’s tax policy. We are committing to not implementing anything other than this if we are in Government,” Robertson said.

He was asked again if this meant he was ruling out giving some ground to the Green Party in possible coalition talks.

“What I’m saying is that this is the policy that Labour is campaigning on, and we will only implement the changes that Labour is campaigning on,” Robertson said.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300103149/election-2020-labour...

What do you think Jacinda will say in the Jacinda vs Judith debate when the topic of tax is brought up? Do you think she will rule out any changes to their tax policy, like she ruled out implementing CGT so long as she is Prime Minister, or do you think she will hum-and-ha, and be ambiguous, allowing an opening for Judith to attack her on it, on stage in front of everyone watching the debate?

Let’s just wait until after the election. Then if the Greens are not in cabinet, Robertson’s statement definitely will become unambiguous. Let’s all just hope then that is what transpires, and even better the Greens are not returned in the first instance.

It is already not ambiguous.

Still better than nothing but clearly not good enough.

Hmmmm.....
While it is expected the high tax bracket will raise over $500m per year (and many proposed taxes fall short of expectations) it will take 24 years just to offset the Government's initial March Covid package of $12 billion alone. No other new taxes - other than pressures on multi-nationals - are proposed.
Wasn't the Budget's COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund $50 billion?

I don't see IRD slapping taxes on multinationals gaining much momentum unless Trump loses the election battle in November.

The Labour party released plans to introduce a digital tax on certain types of incomes earned by foreign companies in NZ such as advertising revenue to 'level the playing field". I must acknowledge that this is a great move to claw back hundreds of millions each year in lost tax revenue but it may not happen on Trump's watch.
For digital taxes to become a reality in NZ, Labour-Greens need to pull a majority and Joe Biden needs to win back the swing states.

As mentioned in an earlier article quoting Robertson, a DST is being investigated. Regardless of Trump/Biden outcome AU, EU, IRE UK all have or are working towards such a tax. US can't turn it's back or tariff the rest of the world without suffering ramifications. If they get too toey, investment and substitutes will go elsewhere. I think the Western world is waking up to the fact that the US is more hassle than it's worth

It's only the start of new taxes. This is Labour, it's all about taxes. CGT will come soon or a inheritance tax. I will buy more properties for my trust now and have to talk to my accountants. We really need yes incompetent govt gone. I am not sure what they have achieved in the last 3 years. House prices are more expensive than ever. Complete failure of kiwibuild, failure to successfully keep out covid, sick of Cindy and her continuous mention of team of 5 million. More people will lose jobs soon and unemployment will be worse than ever. The extra tax will go nowhere while we still supporting the increase in unemployment. Let's bring the wealth tax in as well and completely F the country up.

What did National achieve in 9? Didn’t make houses any cheaper. Your comment makes no sense. Just a dummy spit.

So how many years of neglect should be we be OK with before we start holding them to their own policy and campaign promises? 8? 10?

Exactly. The whole National/Labour did it, so Labour/National can do it, is just idiotic.

For all the simple little Nat/Lab voters. Just keep on voting the same way you always have. Things may have got worse for the past 100 years, but hey, this time will be different.

At least we had jobs under national. Let's have this conversation at end of year when you sitting at home with no job.

UberEats doesn’t count.

Still a job mate, even the uber driver contributes to the economy. better than the people sitting on the dole which will get more increases under this govt.

Our second largest city was practically destroyed under National.

Makes as much sense to blame Labour for Covid as it does to blame National for the Christchurch quake.

Gerry Brownlee burner account

Well, this is certainly not transformational, but I am ok with a higher tax bracket. It would be fair to address bracket creep, but not right now. Sadly, the activists in the Green party are clearly in the driving seat and I think they may well fail to get back into Parliament. I had supported them previously as an environmental issues party, but now I do not feel inclined to waste my vote on them.

When were they actually an environmental issues party?

Probably more so back in the Russel/Fitzsimmons days. They'd get more credibility if they stuck closer to their Environmental cause, which is worth supporting but nowadays their extreme leftism is a turn off for many

They aren't extreme left. I would say just slightly left of centre left. Similar to the ruling parties of northern Europe.

22
up

The biggest problem in this country is WEALTH inequality, due to years of not taxing property, not taxing assets, not taxing inheritance etc. So we see huge WEALTH inequality, not huge INCOME inequality. Those incomes are going to be taxed more because it's easier to do, but that doesn't make it the right thing to do. 2% of people own 50% of the nations WEALTH, not INCOME. Higher taxation of income will only make things worse as people can still store and hide their WEALTH in untaxed assets.

I damn well know these idiots are aware of this. So why they come up with idiotic policies targeting the wrong group is clear. This will help to push highly productive workers in higher paid industries overseas. Industries being the things that actually makes us all wealthy. So we will see top end industries constrained by further difficulty in getting highly skilled staff and the wealthy can continue to keep their wealth in unproductive assets, which will only increase in value.

Hear hear. The Irish have got the right idea with their Capital Acquisition Tax (33% tax on gifts and inheritance)...although the less said about their corporate tax the better.

* with thresholds
** with exemptions for houses later moved into by children
*** with relief for inheritances of businesses and farmland.

We frequently hear other places have taxes, so we should have them too. We never hear about when they kick in or how they abate. When they are proposed here (like CGT) they aren't brought without the same thresholds or exemptions that are used to justify their continued existence overseas without revolt, and subsequently become politically poisonous here.

"This will help to push highly productive workers in higher paid industries overseas." Hate to point out the obvious but most of our major Companies and a not small number of Govt Agency top management all have overseas recruits working in the top jobs. If people want to leave for the perceived tax benefits let them go, they are quite easily replaced by others who bring international experience and networks. According to the projection the new tax will only affect 2% of wage/salary earners. Much better than a CGT which hits more like 30 -40%, - then you'd have a problem

Alot of peoples wealth is simply in property, and much of that wealth has been created from thin air with house price inflation, due to low interests rates. But there are many millionaires in Auckland for example, who are solely millionaires because they own a property. This means that they would be taxed more than other people in other parts of the country who live in cheaper areas, if there was a 'wealth; tax. Income taxes IMO are far more fair and easier to manage and means the tax is actually being paid on something that is generating something productive. The more money we makes, the more tax they pay, and it is easy to administer. Houses are not productive and relies on valuers. .

Why do we have to achieve progress by taxing everything. Lets get producing tangible stuff and sell it at home or abroad.

Because tax decides where money is invested. Capital flows to where the greatest returns are, after tax. That means the tax system has a big say about where capital flows.

Basically our tax system decides where most money is put. You can see this from the enormous rise in prices of residential property which is highly tax efficient in this country.

Because China can produce it cheaper. We used to make Fridges and washing machines, that were good, but that was sold off, and now produced overseas.

12
up

I'd love to see New Zealand have a 0% or low rate starting band like the UK, Australia, much of the EU etc. The 10.5% rate for low income earners is highly regressive tax policy.

I agree with you, should have been funded by this new tax.

At this point I would accept just a Copy + Paste job of the Australian thresholds and student loan repayment system.

Aussies tax 45% over $180k, picking you're not in that bracket then.

Nope, but apparently you'd have to earn over 300K there before you'd be worse off - thanks to their zero rated threshold and actually adjusting their brackets more than once a decade.

$300k in NZ is $89,920 tax, Australia is $108,097.

Maybe your source doesn't understand how marginal rates work?

$300K under the Labour proposal is $97K. Legislated ATO tax cut programme to 2022-2023 takes the crossover point out to around $280K.

So cross over point is not $300k as you claimed, but may be $280k in 2 years time? Believe it when I see it.

Believe me, it's a problem I'd love to have. But it doesn't change the fact that Kiwis are taxed higher on lower wages, and our brackets haven't been adjusted since....2010? Are you living costs the same as they were in 2010?

The Govt needs to increase the overall tax take. Bit pointless if they come up with "tax neutral" policies

Those on lower incomes however are more likely to spend those tax savings.

Agreed, however the extra $1000 or so spent per taxpayer on less than 10.5K sure won't add up to 1/2 a billion

Yep agree. And fund it via 39% coming in at circa 130k.
0% tax on first 20k

"Our tax won't affect 98% of income earners!" is a cowardly way of saying "no tax relief for 98% of income earners". And we're going to keep taxing you on the inflation-driven portion of your wage growth to boot.

I'm not opposed to the tax brackets being higher, but dressing this minor, relatively administrative change as some sort of sweeping act of egalitarianism is a tedious sleight of hand, designed to drive populist sentiment and will achieve very little in the scheme of things.

Let me repeat, Ardern and Robertson are centrist populists. They are not transformational, they are not of the left.

A breathtaking overhaul of the New Zealand taxation system. 2% of taxpayer's affected. About as transformational as rearranging deckchairs on The Titanic. This is worthy of a Nobel award of Economics.

Ardern is a phoney. Repeat after me.

A breathtaking overhaul of the New Zealand taxation system. 2% of taxpayer's affected. About as transformational as rearranging deckchairs on The Titanic. This is worthy of a nomination for the Nobel award of Economics.

That's why they're in Government. Any further left and the middle would flock to National.

Don't agree. They could do plenty more that might impact on the top 5-10% but have no negative impact on middle NZ.

Like what?

19
up

Punishing the high salary earners, who aren't the problem.

Once again the asset rich - or the ultra rich with good accountants and tax lawyers - escape the drag net, and skilled working professionals get nailed.

Government should be reducing tax rates across the board to stimulate the economy. It's not like inflation is a risk at the moment.

MMT says we don't have to balance the budget anyway. Just run permanent deficits and who needs tax?

I remain unconvinced. We’d look like a banana republic.

But a bit of NZD denominated debt at times of low inflation and low interest rates isn’t disastrous. Reduce spending and pay down debt when inflation starts to tick up.

I remain convinced that you are right. In this world of countries going bananas I quite like that we are not. The rest are in a race to the bottom, let’s not join them.

just hide it somewhere.

Socialism with NZ characterists. Bolt on a small rise at the very top end of income tax but leave the holy cow of residential property investments untouched. Toothless and tedious.

'Toothless and tedious'. Exactly.
Party Vote Green!

Politics.

Wealth tax is no good but CGT with exemption of family home should been considered but is politics ALTERNATIVLY if serious about BLT - should make it mandatory for alll sellers to fill a form to declare if own any house be it individually, jountly or in Trust account or in a company JUSTike all buyers have to give undertaking of being resident and for money laundering.

Looks like assets are still as safe as houses

This from the Guardian re inequality in NZ. Aug 31st. I suppose it's true.
New Zealand’s wealthiest 1% of adults – around 38,000 people – have $141bn in trusts. Another 150,000 or so people, rounding out the rest of the wealthiest 5%, have trusts worth a further $122bn.
The wealth inequality data, developed in conjunction with Statistics New Zealand researchers, shows that the 1% have an average of $3.6m held in trusts, $1.6m in shares and $470,000 in cash. Their debts are on average just $80,000. The typical (median) person in the 1% is worth $6.2m. In contrast, the typical New Zealander is worth only $92,000 – 68 times less. When it comes to the most unequally distributed forms of wealth ... Ardern’s government has shown little appetite for redistribution. Among those in the poorest half of the country, meanwhile, the average person owns assets worth just $46,000 and has debts of $33,000, leaving them with a net worth of $12,000. They have negligible wealth in trusts and on average just $4,000 in the bank, leaving them vulnerable to sudden financial shocks.
When it comes to the middle classes – the 40% of the country who are above the mid-point but below the wealthiest 10% – have a higher net worth, on average $352,000, most of it tied up in housing.

The tax issue no reporter wants to ask Robertson is kiwisaver. The Government is robbing kiwisavers with its FIF tax regime to the extent they are in international equities. On 1 April 2020 they happily tax everyone on 5% of their kiwisaver balances even though the vast majority had gone down substantially. Further as they recover during 2020 they will tax them on 1 April 2021 on another 5%. So yes, we get taxed when kiwisaver makes losses and then get taxed again when the recover to pre-existing levels. So this Government is not doing any favours to kiwisavers. It’s a tax cash cow for the Government that nobody wants to talk about. The same applies to anyone invested in equities outside NZ and Australia. All the while gains in houses supported by Orr and Roberston remain tax free. Grow some kahunas Labour and bring in a CGT and tax kiwisaver and international equities on a realised basis.

Oreo. You accurately identify the punitive nature of Cullens Forced Dividend Rate capital tax scheme which taxes fictitious overseas income that has not been received and discourages sensible diversification. But this year timing of the market downturn should have meant most using the FDR option will not (for once) be paying tax on 5% of their cap value.

Kiwisaver funds and companies cant use the comparative value method so they are still paying the FDR! CV is only available to individuals and family trusts.

OK. Didn't know that, thanks.

The NZ Superannuation Fund pays approx $550m in tax on FDR and earns $550m in dividends. It needs to be exposed.

Terry Baucher described the FIF rort quite well in this 2011 comment :

'The complexity of the FIF regime might perhaps be great at providing work for tax advisors, but it doesn’t seem to make a lot of economic sense given New Zealand’s poor savings record and huge overseas liabilities'

The problem is it gets no media attention or discussion in mainstream media. I doubt the reporters even understand the issue to ask Robertson. That was one article 9 years ago. The removal of the grey list exemption in the late 2000's was a disgrace and more than likely due to the Government realizing how much they could get in tax from the billions that were to be invested in kiwisaver.

Oreo you really do need to read up on the FDR regime (note it's called an FDR NOT FIF) Most overseas shares pay a very low dividend rate but have (potentially) high CG. Therefore the tax is levied at the Fair Dividend Rate of 5% of CG/annum for offshore equities. If you'd purchased NZX registered securities , you would pay the appropriate tax rate on Divy's (your marginal rate) but no tax on CG. The FDR regime was designed to discourage investment in offshore markets, but if you chose to do so then that is the cost

Posting my comment from above as you are one that this is wrong and need to do some reading...

Your are clearly a Robertson fanboy but his slogan today was a joke as he is serving up free lunches to all the untaxed capital gains made on rental houses in NZ. I just hope they did not pay more money to the two PR companies that got the $16m for the team of 5 million.

Back to your post. It doesn't apply to Australian stocks so your rationale above is shot down right there. The reason it doesent apply to Australian stocks is purely from politically lobby at the last minute before it was passed. The FDR is a method of the Foreign Investor Fund (FIF) regime it is not a regime itself. There are actually other methods too CV etc all part of the FIF regime not the FDR regime. So you are talking complete rubbish like you last comments on my last post. I started advising clients on it in the 1990's so I understand a lot better than you. This claim most overseas companies don't pay very low dividends is based on what? Cullens press release when he came up with it apply to former grey list countries. If you invest in say ITW Stock on NYSE you get a 2.35% dividend so then why should one be paying tax on 5% of the capital value on an unrealised basis? I am happy to pay CGT on the sale of the shares but when they are realised not on an unrealised basis under the FIF regime which is a tax fiction that some bureaucrats made up and only exists in NZ because it would bring in lots of tax.

Also the most recent tax working group recommended that the 5% was too high and overtaxing taxpayers and it should be reduced to 3% but the Government and Treasury refused to do anything. They would rather serve up free lunches to residential landlords.

That is right. Daylight robbery . Do not be sucker - opt out of Kiwisaver.

Same Guardian Article.
IRD research, meanwhile, shows that more than half the country’s ultra-wealthy individuals – those with over $50m – declare incomes of less than $70,000, an implausibly low figure. They avoid tax, the IRD argues, by taking their income as untaxed capital gains, undervaluing the services they provide to their own companies, and transferring wealth to charities which they control but which make “little or no charitable donations”.

Yeah, unfortunately we can't all start a fringe church and set up "charities".. shame

About time an accountant who manages the wealthy leak some of the details for the overall good of the public.

Well, being an employee = highest taxed entities... there just offering to tax us more

Add up how much direct or indirect tax employees pay with next to zero deductions
PAYE, GST, Vehicle registration and road taxes, petrol taxes, rates... if you actually work it out the tax bill is much higher than the highly publicised PAYE rate

I would go as far to say ~50% or more is taken from an average earners paycheck to pay govt...

IRD just needs to hire the former architects of these structured finance transactions and transfer pricing structures to understand them and attack them. This would raise more than this proposed 39% tax rate. The ATO in Australia has successfully done this now for a number of years with some big wins against multinationals. Some adjustments the ATO have achieved are AUD$600m. Instead our IRD focuses of dumbing down its skilled workers and transforming the business with very few skilled workers left.

I've got four main clients, and bust my guts for them. I might cut down to three main clients next year and take some time off. Hopefully the fourth can find a replacement.

Best to take on an extra 1-2 clients now. Work overtime. Then ditch them in April or October next year when the new tax rates come in.

The Government needs to make some cuts like lots of private businesses are right now. Start at the top https://www.taxpayers.org.nz/ceo_rich_list . The average Public Sector CEO on $443,000. The argument that they need to pay to attract the talent is BS. They need to implement a zero cost budgeting strategy across the board and also have a cap on what these Public Sector CEO's are paid of say 350k. If they want more go and get it in the private sector. Then move to limit the deputy CEO and so on. The Government is not making any cuts and all the workers are not at any risk from the impact of the lockdowns.

I have worked in and around government departments over the last 5 years. There is a lot of waste. I think they could comfortably cut their staff numbers by a third and not lose anything. I am not talking about frontline staff, rather policy people.

They'll all be pushing for pay rises now to offset the higher income tax.

Very few will be hit by the higher tax. Only senior management.

While we are at why don't we just make the first $50k tax free and mitigate the employment trap - get rid of some bureaucrat middlemen to boot.
"Households earning less than $50,000 receive more in credits than they pay in direct income tax by about a third.
By comparison, the top 3 per cent of individual income earners, earning more than $150,000 a year, pay 24 per cent of all tax received."
https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/81429047/small-number-of-taxpayers-bear...

"If the same person was offered another day's work they would earn $600 gross, $329.11 after deductions. Making the same childcare and travel cost assumptions, they would get to keep $104.11 or, in other words, $13.22 for working an extra day."
https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/114949505/tax-system-means-for-some-its...

Yes it is crazy the Government wont tax capital gains on rental properties and also pays subsidized rents to the owners of the property via a large number of households who pay no net tax after receiving the accommodation supplement and other assistance. Stop paying the accommodation supplement and rents will fall. Start taxing rental property capital gains and the distortion of investing in houses vs international equities will disappear. Ardern and Robertson are a disgrace for not having the Kahunas to say this is what we have to do. Sure have rollover relief but if you cashing out of property you get taxed.

CG tax will not lower house prices, you need more policies to do that, ie a mass state house building and rent scheme, take away the supply of tenants and rents drop.
the government is slowly making it harder to be a landlord the final nail would be making them become authorized to offer accommodation otherwise they can not do it

I dont state that CGT will decrease house prices. I am saying that the tax distortion between houses and international equities needs to removed. I want a realized capital gains tax on everything. Family homes can get roll over relief if the new home is bought within 3 months of sale. Happy to pay it. Realised gains being the key point. No more taxing equities and kiwisaver when you make losses or on more than you receive in dividends. So if you receive nothing in a year you pay nothing.

man you just are refusing to get the point. Your offshore equities did provide you with a gain, therefor you received something..(unrealised or not) on which you got taxed 5%. If you don't want to pay a paltry 5% then bail out of offshore equities.. an astute portfolio of NZ equities would provide you with 20% short term CG (untaxed) over the last 6 months.. some significantly more (PEB + 470%, CBD +100%, VGL +85%, SKC + 150%, SKL +85%, PGW +25%, MEL,CNU,GNE etc,etc) If you got caught on the wrong side of the ledger.. that's life, don't blame the system - talk to your broker

You still have not acknowledge my points. This notion that you received something unrealised or not is just bizzare. It its unrealised you have received nothing and you may never receive anything. There is no other tax fiction that taxes unrealised gain in the OECD. I am not caught on any side of the ledger and you talk to your broker comment clearly show you have no idea. I want a transparent tax system. Not the distorted system we have now rewarding investment in houses and over taxing other investments types.

So you don't want a tax on gains in offshore equities that you haven't cashed up but you also don't think the same unrealised gains in NZ housing should go untaxed?? I'm confused or you're delusional.. probably both

I want a realized capital gains tax on everything house, farm, shares..... Family homes can get roll over relief if the new home is bought within 3 months of sale. Happy to pay it. So if you receive nothing in a year you pay nothing. Same with your investments in kiwisaver. Yes i want FDR / FIF regime scrapped.

At least the FIF income taxed is a proxy for actual income in the form of dividends. Imagine if they taxed the actual dividend income, then taxed a % of the share value itself, then CGT incurred upon sale. This is the atrocity that is land value tax - they tax the rental income as well as the value of the property itself annually. Add to this CGT. Land is the most over-taxed asset in the world.

The tax working group was proposing CGT on shares and still paying tax under the FIF regime. I am happy to pay tax on realised dividends and realised capital gains. If you hold the stocks for 10 to 20 years they can compound in value and you only pay tax at the very end vs taking some of it unrealised (tax on 5% of the value on 1 April) each year based on the FX rate and the stock price on 1 April that can be vastly different the very next day. So even if you the share price tanks 30% the next day you cant claim a loss in the future. Same if the NZD currency appreciates making your stock worth less in NZD.

The FDR rate of 5% imposed on FIFs applies to the value of the share portfolio at the start of the year. There is no requirement of a capital gain. The FIF regime and the FDR deem a 5% return on the capital invested.

E.g. shares held in US subject to FIF at start of tax year = $1m, at end of tax year =$1m, no capital gain and no dividend paid on the shares - FDR deems income of $50,000.

The regime is similar to that proposed by TOP to deem a rate of return on wealth.

The policy only goes left from here. Robertson has not made it a bottom line negotiation requirement.

Anyone think the Greens will be satisfied with only 39% at 180k?
Suspect what comes out of the negotiations post Oct 17 will be either a higher percentage or it kicks in at a lower level.

The only thing I fear more than a Labour majority is a Labour/Greens Govt.

Labour are using the Greens to cover the poor and disadvantaged etc. If they didn't have the Greens , they would have to move to the left , though there is no competition there if the Greens are gone.

That's right. This election has become about how to prevent Green getting in at all costs.

Should have made the first $ 5000 tax free, extra $ 10 per week to everyone , then paid for by extra top brackets.

i have always thought you should make the first 10k tax free

The real anomaly as I see it is taxing the welfare (and Super) payments. If they were tax free it would make a big difference for the people drawing them. Also I would cease Super payments to anyone in full time employment (they're taxed at secondary anyway)

that has always been a stupid policy. i remember when it came in and the political leader at the time sold it as we want those on benefits to contribute to NZ, WTF, then they had to put the amount up to cover the tax paid back

..

Wow not sure about you but the only thing of interest was that 2 out of every 3 workers earn less than $50k a year. Ouch.

There is a case for hiking the tax rate by 5% on those earning $500k and above. National can come up with that counter ?

"New Zealanders seem not to want an inheritance tax, or a wealth tax, or a land tax or a capital gains tax but they still want to complain about growing inequality of wealth." - Michael Cullen

Pretty revealing comment if those are the words of Michael Cullen, but I'm not sure it's telling us anything we didn't already know.

They're different groups of people.

What a go to move, you know first tool in the shed.
- Where is the empirical evidence that some place, any place has taxed themselves out of recession.

The top 2%, already pay approx 25% of income tax.(fact check).

“Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.” —Perth, Scotland, 28 May 1948, in Churchill, Europe Unite: Speeches 1947 & 1948 (London: Cassell, 1950), 347.