Home > Economics > Receipts for tax payments

Receipts for tax payments

Third Way, an American think-tank, last year had a simple proposal that should be possible to implement here as well, highlighted this week in Slate to coincide with the US tax-filing deadline. Each taxpayer would receive a breakdown of how their tax contribution was spent. It should be relatively costless, the same formula for all taxpayers, the amount paid divided by the proportions of government spending in each department, in one extra page sent with a P60.

At its simplest, it would simply present fifteen figures, one for each government department, though with a little extra effort, it would make sense to itemize further, to separate Environment from Local Government, Tourism from Transport, etc.

There are two broad appeals to this. One is a matter of fairness, if people are paying in some cases over 50% on some of their income, it should be clear to them how that is spent. The other is that voters would then be better informed in public debate, arguments at election time about spending and taxation would be much more concrete for them.

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