Death and taxes… and other family matters

Dr Patrick Carvalho
Insights Newsletter
8 March, 2019

Benjamin Franklyn is famously credited with writing “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.

That may be true, but a cynic might retort that at least death does not get worse every time governments look for extra funding.

So it was with trepidation that I read the Tax Working Group’s recently released Future of Tax report.

As I chewed through the 200-plus pages of the report, I muttered to myself: “What future?!”. Lower taxes were clearly not on the menu.

In fact, it was more of the same: If you do something wrong, the government will fine you; if you do something right, it will tax you.

Frankly, I fear the next tax review will come up with a system where you toss all your money into the air, and whatever lands in your pocket, you get to keep. (To be fair, at least this new tax collection would be a simpler and more transparent form of money grabbing.)

Alas, if only complaining about taxes were tax deductible.

The other day I grumbled to a friend: “It is getting harder and harder for me to support a family and a government on the same salary.”

In reply, the insensitive devil said: “It’s an accrual world, mate!”

Nope, I did not find it funny. That’s for sure.

So what will I say the next time my two-year-old daughter asks for a new unicorn: “Sorry sweetheart, but the taxman has just taken your unicorn money.”

To avoid that awkward situation, I decided to proactively teach her about taxes.

On a beautiful sunny day, I took her to Wellington’s Waterfront for some chocolate ice cream (her favourite) and an informative session on the principles of taxation.

Just as she was about to take her first taste of the delicious gelato while basking in the warm Wellington afternoon – I swiftly scooped away a third of her cup! And then father explained that’s what the taxman does.

Well, she did not take it well, I can tell you that. Neither should you.

Stay in the loop: Subscribe to updates