Friday 22 June 2018

Most workers are in favour of higher income taxes - but just for those with big salaries

There is broad enthusiasm for a wealth tax, according to a poll by Taxback.com. Stock Image
There is broad enthusiasm for a wealth tax, according to a poll by Taxback.com. Stock Image
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

A majority of taxpayers are in favour of higher income taxes - as long as someone else pays.

There is broad enthusiasm for a wealth tax, according to a poll by Taxback.com. This could take the form of a third income-tax rate to be imposed on those on higher incomes.

The findings are despite the fact that those earning more than €100,000 paid half of the income tax collected in 2017.

The survey of 1,700 people found that 65pc of those who responded agreed that there should be a wealth tax imposed on accumulated wealth. This could take the form of a third, higher income-tax rate, in addition to the 20pc and 40pc rates.

However, when asked if they would be prepared to pay more tax in return for better public services, some 72pc said they would not. The reasons advanced for this were that most people feel they already pay enough tax, or because they do not believe that more taxation will result in better services.

When asked which assets should be taxed and how often the tax should be due, a majority of the survey respondents favoured taxing land.

This was followed by a desire to see more tax on property, with most people also wanting more taxation on share-owning.

It found 61pc of respondents are in favour of imposing a wealth tax on an annual basis.

Tax director at Taxback.com Barry Flanagan said the message the survey was delivering was crystal clear: tax the rich.

"I'm sure many people will be surprised that support for a wealth tax among taxpayers is so high. After all, 65pc pretty much constitutes a landslide," he said.

Mr Flanagan said the recent increase in property prices had meant that those who were on the property ladder were seeing their net worth grow by 11pc a year. He said some economic studies had shown that wealth is highly concentrated in this country, with 73pc of the wealth owned by the richest 20pc.

"It doesn't matter if it's those with high income or those with accumulated wealth that have already been taxed - our survey indicated two-thirds of people want to tax it again," he added.

But he said the other side of the argument was that the top 1pc of earners paid almost 25pc of the income tax collected last year. He said introducing a third rate of tax would generate an extra €800m if it was set at a rate of 45pc.

Irish Independent

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