As we have the same conversation about the Household Charge every single day on the Journal I’m just going to stick this here so I can get to it when I need it, and save me having to find it, copy it and repost it:
Someone always wheels out that tired old line “If you didn’t register you don’t have to pay.”
It’s simply not true.
When this was mentioned in February all the relevant organsations, on both sides, said that this wasn’t true.
“Why then”, asks the tax evader, “were we asked to register at all (at all)?”
Well it’s simple, the state didn’t have a registry of of the ownership status of every property in the State. They could have gone through a long process of determining it but they decided to ask people thinking, incorrectly as it turns out, that people are basically law abiding.
The next line is “An ESB bill doesn’t prove that I own a house”, maybe not but when you sign up for electricity, or gas, or a phone you are asked what your home owner status is. So you’ve already given that status to a state run authority, they are simply collating ownership claims you’ve already made.
Finally we get, “I didn’t get a first letter.” Well if you read the articles and press releases you’ll see that the first wave of letters was targeted mainly at landlords, are you a landlord? The second wave, the harder to determine wave is targeted at home owners.
I’m not quite rolling in money but I can afford 2 euros a week, can’t you? Are you sure you don’t have any expenses you can’t get rid of? Your internet connection? Your TV? Sure there’s nothing worth watching anyway.
And it’s “unjust”, apparently. Well Morality is a nebulous concept. I’ll leave it to the churchmen and the philosophers, but what else might be unjust?
What if the millionaire says “Well I contribute a lot to society and I pay plenty of income tax, but a lot of other people pay nothing and take a lot out, that doesn’t seem very just to me. I’ll with hold some of my taxes.” Is that OK? Or if someone says “I don’t like what this government is doing, it’s unjust, I won’t declare my income, pay not tax and still take social welfare.” Is that OK?
Everything’s unfair or unjust to someone.
And apparently the rich don’t pay enough tax, well according to news reports on this site in 2010 tax revenues from high earners resulted in an average effective tax rate of around 30%. The OECD tax database shows that the average tax burden on wages from “All-in average personal tax rates” comes to about 16.5%. Now it’s been a little while since my maths degree but 30 is more than 16.5 still, isn’t it?
Then someone will start off about sheep or “sheeple”, well studies show that sheep are smarter than previously thought (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8335465/Sheep-are-far-smarter-than-previously-thought.html). If people are like any mammal found on a farm then they’re like a party of small schoolchildren on a day trip to that farm. “Wah ‘snot fair! Don’t wanna!”
Does that cover everything? No, not quite. Massive savings could be managed by wholesale public services reform. And that’s true, perfectly and utterly true, but to do that you’ll need to get the Unions on board and they, these unelected self serving officials, will never stand for it. If you can get them on board then I’ll be very impressed and will look at any reforms with great interest.
So what if they raise it next year by a factor of 100? A 10K Household charge? They won’t.