Budget 2008: Tax cuts

Written By: - Date published: 2:55 pm, May 22nd, 2008 - 26 comments
Categories: budget 2008, election 2008, tax - Tags:

Labour has announced a three year tax cut package worth $10.6 billion. Here’s a table showing the changes:

Current 15.00% 21.00% 33.00% 39.00%
Up to $9,500.00 $38,000.00 $60,000.00 $60 K
New 12.50% 21.00% 33.00% 39.00%
01/10/08 $14,000.00 $40,000.00 $70,000.00 $70K plus
01/04/10 $17,500.00 $40,000.00 $75,000.00 $75K plus
01/04/11 $20,000.00 $42,500.00 $80,000.00 $80K plus

What does this mean? Here are the figures for various incomes levels:

Tax cut $ per year Income 01/10/08 01/04/10 01/04/11
Min. wage fulltime 25,037 $620.00 $917.50 $1,130.00
median individual 27,081 $620.00 $917.50 $1,130.00
average individual 34,803 $620.00 $917.50 $1,130.00
median employed 38,769 $608.47 $905.97 $1,118.47
average employed 46,178 $860.00 $1,157.50 $1,670.00

There’s no big bang in these cuts, and that might disappoint a simplistic analysis, but it’s actually quite clever. Labour has lowered the bottom tax rate and extended all the thresholds in steps. This means that the tax cuts are well spread across all income levels.

The 50% of kiwis with incomes below $28,000 will be paying from 11% to 26% less tax from October, and from 21% to 31% less tax by April 1 2011. The tax cut for the average employed person will be $16 a week rising to $32 a week, while those on incomes over $80,000 will get cuts starting at $28 rising to $55.

The increase in the 39% threshold will mean 300,000 fewer people will no longer be paying any tax in this bracket by 2011. By then, no-one with an income of $100,000 or less will be paying over 27.4% of their income in income tax and nearly 2 million people will be paying less than 15% of their income in tax.

Of course, income tax is no longer as simple as the simple rates, Working for Families delivers a tax break to 70% of kiwi families with kids, over 370,000 households. The Working for Families payments have been boosted too. The average family has an income of $72,000 (two thirds from one parent, a third from the other) and two children. With the tax cuts and Working For Families increases combined, these families will be $43 a week better off on October 1 and $85 a week better from April 1 2011.

It’s worth noting that superannuation is tied to the average after-tax wage, so a tax cut sees superannuation payments automatically boosted. Coupled with tax cuts, a couple on super will be about $75 a fortnight better off by April 1 next year.

Tax cut calculator (doesn’t include Working for Families).

26 comments on “Budget 2008: Tax cuts”

  1. Daveski 1

    Except of course these are so clever they aren’t even tax cuts – they simply reverse the impact of bracket creep.

    Surely Cullen’s credibility has gone given his sheer obstinance in refusing tax cuts during the golden weather but bringing them forward this year to try and hold power?

    Surely, surely you can see this?

  2. randal 2

    No I dont see that at all. New Zealanders have been promised some tax relief and they have got it. If you dont want it you can always hand it back.

  3. dave 3

    Hand back $12 a week! lets see, I could write a cheque -( bank check $3.00), drive to the post office ($2 for return trip) get an envelope and postage ($1.00)

    Thats half the tax cut spent already. I`ll stop there.

  4. You fellas probalby haven’t been fultime on the minimum wage (let alone tried to support a family on it) but let me tell you, $1130 extra a year (plus $2000 a year every time Labour rises the minimum wage a dollar) means a lot when you’re income is so low.

  5. gobsmacked 5

    Dave

    Where did you get the $12 figure from?

  6. Daveski 6

    Try responding to my point. In real terms – ie over Labour’s 9 years – these so called cuts simply amount to reducing the average tax rate to what it was. So these aren’t tax cuts.

    Second point. I would even be prepared to give the guy some credit if he stuck to his guns. So why change his stance when the economy is worse than it’s been for the past 8 years??

    As the NZH has pointed out, a block of Colby isn’t going to make that much difference is it?

  7. Maybe not to you Daveski but to most families the kind of increase we’re talking here, $43 a week for the average family on October 1, is a big deal

  8. Daveski 8

    Fair comment Steve – I was not trying to sound like a rich prick and genuinely belief more relief is needed, particularly for the average family.

    My points were about the motivation and the past reluctance to do anything over the past 8 years.

  9. dave 9

    Dave, where did you get the $12 figure from

    I got it from here, actually

    (captcha “deliver Dec” – which is what National will be doing …

  10. Lampie 10

    I thought we were doing 19.5% to $38K currently???? http://www.ird.govt.nz

    This is a question

    [not really. We do 15% to $9,500 then 21% to $38,000. Now, in theory, what is happening is we’re taxed at 19.5% for the first $38,000 but we get 4.5% back on the first $9,500 and then that ‘low income rebate’ is abated at the rate of 1.5% (19.5% to 1.5% abatement = 21% effective) until $38,000, when it is entirely abated. In practical effect, there are just four brackets: 15%, 21%, 33% and 39%. It’s a little hard to explain but if you try it out on excel you’ll see it makes sense. Now, the 15% rate is being lowered to 12.5% and its threshold exceeded out up to $20,000. SP]

  11. Matthew Pilott 11

    lampie – it is, but there’s a low income rebate which effictively delivers a four step system.

    15% up to $9,500 and the 21% to $38,000 delivers an effective rate of 19% at $38,000, but weights it to the higher end of the bracket. Hope that make sense.

  12. lampie 12

    Thanks SP, as I’m just going by IRD

  13. lampie 13

    Thanks Matt, see above 🙂

    The way I look at it as a personal thing is, that the phone bill is paid for each month which yay great for for me and it is going to get better still.

    Very pleased with this but hope we haven’t left ourselves a bit short.

    If Key wants to give away more, means cuts to services and/or borrowing.

    Also as someone said before about Mr Key pulling figures out of the air, he now has to put up or shut up, i.e. tell us HOW he is going to do it.

    Should be our catch phrase now – PUT UP OR SHUT UP, KEY

  14. lampie 14

    Matt – IRD website I mean 🙂

    Good to know these things.

    Thought those nasty newspapers have made another mistake, again.

  15. jbc 15

    It’s shame that income splitting is still nowhere to be seen. I’m not sure why IRD views a married couple (or civil union) on, say, $60k each as needing to pay less tax than the case where one partner earns $120k and the other $0.

    Now, as a self-employed person trading through a company I can pay my partner $60k (soon $70k) as a part-time admin/accounts person while she looks after the kids. This saves our family $167 per week in tax under the current tax brackets (March 2008).

    Is it not unfair that a regular salary earner can not do the same?

  16. Lew 16

    jbc: TVHE had a good and not-too-technical post on why income-splitting is a no-fly-zone for anyone other than UF.

    Summary: 1. it’s economically illiterate; 2. it requires an ideal family type to be codified in legislation; 3. it effectively penalises anyone not belonging to that ideal family type. I’d add 4: Massive implementation problems.

    http://tvhe.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/household-structure-economic-units-and-income-splitting/

    L

  17. jbc 17

    Lew: if it is all of those things, then WFF must come pretty close to having the same faults. We all know it is a WINZ benefit – but the govt loves to call it a tax credit of some sort.

    As for fairness, I don’t really buy the argument that it is unfair to individuals. The same argument could be made against many govt initiatives. Any what of the fairness of tax liability for single/dual income families?

    Hell, it might even reduce the number of solo parents.

  18. Lew 18

    jbc: WFF is in fact a tax credit, not a benefit – to receive it you need to be working and paying tax. It does have some similarities with income-splitting in this regard, and it does have some of the same failings. What makes WFF good is that the crucial determinant of entitlement is the one which the policy is targetted to solve: the problem of low income families (of any shape or size) with dependant children. No children, no WFF; no working, no WFF.

    I also don’t have much time for the line that it’s unfair on individuals. I recognise that it arguably is, but I see important societal benefits from this sort of targetted support which make it worthwhile (though I don’t currently benefit from it myself).

    As for your last comment: why on earth would you like to reduce the number of solo parents? Economically disadvantaging the decision to cut loose from a bad relationship will result in increased spousal abuse and relationships of convenience. There would be a bunch of other collateral effects too. This is simplistic policy.

    L

  19. jbc 19

    Lew: I can see that we’ll have to settle with agreeing to disagree here. Whether splitting is economically illiterate is a matter of opinion. Some countries allow it in various forms (don’t have the references handy). I’m not sure if spousal abuse is higher in those countries – seems a rather negative way to look at it.

    On solo parents: I was thinking of the solo parents than might already be in a relationship but deliberately kept at a distance so that DPB can still be claimed. At present a de-facto relationship with an earner would result in a drop of income for the potential household (even with WFF).

    And, for the record, I’m not a pro-family fundamentalist. I’m just pragmatic. Those that can afford to manipulate their earnings through various entities (or ‘investment vehicles’) are already doing so.

    Compared to WFF? Well, income-splitting is not really going to be of much benefit for the wealthiest double-income-no-kids couples as their marginal rates are probably the same or similar. WFF looks at gross household income so it results in the same inequity between single and double income families.

  20. RedLogix 20

    Lew,

    Agreed. My two children are adults now, and it’s only been the last few years that I’ve realised just how dammed expensive they were.. and I’ve enjoyed a top 5-10% income all my life. But it was not until I started working for Habitat for Humanity a few years back, that I got an authentic sense of how hard families with 2-3 kids earning below median incomes have it. On what it really is like for those 20% odd of NZ children growing up in poverty… and just how eagerly they will seize the opportunity to get out of the trap they are in.

    And the trap has teeth. It’s the time poverty that does the damage. Far too often both parents are working at sub-standard jobs that mean one or other of them is working shift (or worse still split shifts), and both parents have hardly ever at home together, and the family spends even less time as a whole. It’s the sheer endless grinding weariness of their lives, that mean these kids grow up in families who with only half shadows of parents.

    I could tell of numerous first hand life stories, where WFF has made a difference. Yes they are still doing it hard, its not easy and likely never will be easy being a parent… but you see kids being taken to sports, or ballet lessons for the first time. They actually go on holiday, a thing they never dreamed of at one time. The rent gets paid on time, the school fees are not always ignored, doctors visits are not always put off until the very last possible moment.

    Now I’m no Pollyanna. I know they still screw up, and money gets spent on stupid things, smoking, gambling, HP on crap cars… but these are lessons we all have to learn, regardless of how wealthy we are. But WFF is changing things for families all over NZ. If you are one of those who are single, and you really are so miffed about it, there is one sure cure… get your own kids. That’ll fix you.

  21. Lew 21

    jbc: Yeah, you make some good points. `Economically illiterate’ only because it doesn’t work on the individual economic unit, but that’s a big deal.

    Agree with your explication of DPB and WFF vs IS for the DINKs, too – but it affects them as soon as they become SIWKs (which is my case).

    Didn’t pick you as a fundie either, fwiw.

    RedLogix: Yeah, I grew up oldest in a DPB household, and it sucked, economically.

    L

    Captcha: `is buses’. Yes, is.

  22. jbc 22

    Ok Lew, I’m not an economist by any stretch of the imagination. I never studied economics at any level and I do not have any prior reading on income splitting.

    As a non-economist I’d make the point that an individual no longer behaves as an individual ‘economic unit’ once they have a family. Their income is no longer their own (although some think otherwise). Decisions that affect income, how it is obtained, how it is spent, can be very different to that of the single person. I have two young kids so I’m not a complete stranger to this.

    Looking at the raw tax system it seems obvious to the layperson that the progressive tax scale is designed to take more from individuals who can supposedly afford it. At least I guess that’s the theory.

    It stands to reason that this assumption no longer holds when the income of an individual supports a family unit. Splitting the income puts the average and marginal rates at levels that are closer to what might be appropriate.

    If IS were in place then WFF would be needed in far fewer cases and I believe the application of the tax scales would be fairer overall (it’s our job to be fair… 🙂 )

    Latter racket

  23. Lew 23

    jbc: I’m not an economist either, but I do have some interest in the subject inasmuch as economic theory applies to politics. I’m not sure you’re right in arguing individuals stop behaving economically as individuals once they’re part of a family, but I don’t have the toolkit to argue properly against it, so I’d welcome an economist’s view.

    L

  24. bill brown 24

    Perhaps the range of WFF could be widened from support based on number of children to support based on number of dependants. This would provide for those workers supporting anyone in the household not just children.

  25. erikter 25

    bill brown said: “Perhaps the range of WFF could be widened from support based on number of children to support based on number of dependants. This would provide for those workers supporting anyone in the household not just children.”

    Another left-wing harebrained idea. Why do we need to support people who on their own volition have elected to have large families?

    If you want to breed, OK, but don’t expect the rest of society to foot the bill.

    The term absurd comes to mind.

  26. Matthew Pilott 26

    erikter, WFF gives people their own tax back as a credit. If you want to complain about something, learn how it works.

    If people want to have children, I say support them as best society can, to increase the chances of the kids being well brought-up, getting good jobs and contributing to society.

    Opposing that – patently absurd indeed!

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    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago

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