Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Warren Buffett says the rich don't pay their fair share of tax

In this article in the New York Times on Monday, mega rich investor Warren E. Buffett said, among other things:-

"Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent."

Same situation in New Zealand, thanks to Bill English's tax breaks for the rich last year, and tax increases for everyone else with his GST hike.  In the US the number of people whose annual income is over $1 million ($NZ 1.2 million) is put at 237,000.  Adjusted for population that would be 3,200 people here and probably about what the figure is, most of them chief executives and lawyers.  And of course, those who make investment profits here, unlike the US, don't pay any tax on them at all.  It would be interesting to know if the average tax the rich pay is less than the 17.4% Warren Buffett pays.

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