Did you know that today is Tax Freedom Day?
Tax Freedom Day was a term originally coined in 1948 in the US as being the number of days the average worker would have to work to pay off his/her taxes. This year, calculated by the Adam Smith Institute in the UK; that day is today, three days later than last year.
HM Revenue & Customs are due to collect £724.9 billion this year which is roughly 34.3% of the national income. The burden of tax on families in the UK is now the highest in over 20 years. The last time the tax burden was higher as a proportion of the GDP was when Harold Wilson was in power to give you some perspective (1969/70).
All the public services that we have such as the NHS, welfare and education have to be paid for of course, either by way of taxation, or by borrowing; which in turn imposes further taxing on the next generations. But is the way we current tax people a fair system? Are the poor suffering whilst the rich remain unaffected?
As a single, solvent woman with little debt and no children, the taxation system does not affect me adversely. Indeed, the raise in the tax threshold each year actually benefits me. I am not rich, I am not poor, but the system benefits me in a similar way that it does not adversely affect the rich.
So why do I care? Because it is precisely because the changes in tax, tax reforms and cuts in benefits do not affect me that I should. The Government does not listen to the poor. If the people who are not affected do not speak up, who will? Not the rich. They in large do not care.
Disabled people are committing suicide and dying under the current level of cuts. The two child limit on benefits is set to push another 250,000 children into poverty by 2020. The number of people visiting food banks has risen to an all time record with over 1.3 million people receiving emergency food supplies.
Talk Tax is a great service which also provides those hard to reach HMRC contact numbers to get the information that you need, help required and just as importantly, where to raise any issues that you may have.
There are resources, charities and sites set up precisely for the reason of helping people under the current tax and benefit reforms. It is just a shame that in this day and age, as one of the richest countries in the world, that we need them in the first place.