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There is no shame in avoiding taxes or fines

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Ktulu, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. If you're a cynical prick, like me, you will know that one of the very few things you can trust the government to do openly and consistently - is to make money.

    That and perpetuating their own power is pretty much their primary function... after that they look after big business, then other countries with nicer weapons than we've got, then a little bit of looking after finally trickles down to the people who actually voted for them.


    So here's some fast facts and figures:

    - In 1994 Labour government introduces Luxury Car Tax -> sales tax of 25% on vehicles which have a sale price of over $57,180.00

    - Last financial year, the government raised this tax to 33% [which is around a 30% raise to the tax rate].

    - The Liberals are dead against it and have forced it to go to a Senate review. This means it's not set in concrete yet, but the government has told the Australian Tax Office to go enforce this new tax in the meantime; regardless of whether it's legal or not.

    - Automotive Industry goes WTF?

    - ATO solution is for dealers to either:

    a) Charge extra tax on vehicles, pay it if the government's allowed to keep the dodgy tax.

    b) Don't charge the extra... but run back to customers after a deal has been finalised and ask really really really nicely for an extra 8% of the pruchase price of their vehicle.

    - "How about you pass a tax properly before gouging money out of us that may create an account keeping nightmare?"

    - Labour + ATO "Ummmmm no, we'll just keep going with this thanks. Deal with it."

    - Issue currently under Senate Review and hinges pretty heavily on Steve Bracks' Australian Motor Industry review, which has been submitted to Industry Minister Kim Carr who in turn has DENIED giving copies to any shadow ministers. Because that's not a dead give-away that there's embarrassing information in it at all... <_<

    However, here's the best part:

    Labour raised a tax on an item, increasing it's cost, while ASSUMING that sales would in no way be affected.

    Reality: sales dropped 33% after the introduction of the tax.

    Total tax revenue: up 8% proportional to previous tax rate.

    Number of sales: down 33% proportional to previous rate of sales.

    = less Australians buying nice cars AND less money for the government anyway.

    Whoopsie daisy!

    Now let's take our thinking a step further, hmm?

    New safety technologies are ALWAYS introduced in top of the line vehicles (like say... oh, I dunno; LUXURY CARS for example), before the cheaper ones get it as the technology becomes more readily available.

    So to summarise; within the last 12 months our brand spanking new Federal Labour government (and our old, reliably incompetent State Labour government) have managed to LOSE revenue from a sales tax, while simultaneouslty forcing people into vehicles that are less safe, while simultaneously tell us the reason people die on the roads is because we are horribly negligent criminals who require intense behavioural modification through the confiscation of revenue.

    Frickin' great, ay?
  2. Since when is $57k a luxury car? Do pollies ever think to ask what those free (tax payer funded) cars actually cost?
  3. That's the other thing, that figure was never adjusted with inflation or anything.

    $57k is what some SS Commodores cost.
    Hell, anything turbo diesel and 4WD costs that; new. Work utes definately aren't "luxury" vehicles.
  4. $57k is about a year's average pre-tax income or maybe a bit more. The majority of the poulation's motoring needs can be met by much less expensive vehicles. Sounds like a luxury item to me.

    I agree with this though. Which is why there should be some legislative effort made to distinguish between genuine commercial vehicles and gigantic schoolrun wankmobiles. Although, thinking about it, don't 4WDs already enjoy favourable taxation status as a legacy of the days when the only people buying them were farmers and miners?
  5. Ah, gotta love them socialist principles, don't you?

    Who determines what is and what isn't a luxury item? Personally, my little Forester was $34k brand new. But a Barina was $14k. So you could argue that my little Subaru is a luxury item.

    I like a glass or two of wine. But I rarely spend even more than $15 a bottle. Personally, anyone who drinks those bottles of red at $30 should pay more. I mean, only wankers drink those, don't they?

    I don't wear jewellery. Never seen the point. By definition, it's a luxury item. Tax it out of existence I reckon.

    4 bedroom houses? Pfft, share rooms. Small blocks. Anyone who lives in a house bigger than mine should be taxed more.

    I see absolutely NO reason why a car that costs $53k should be taxed at a different rate to one that costs $57k. They are both expensive, both arguably are 'luxuries'. So why have a sliding scale. It's punitive taxation for no other reason than it makes some socialist somewhere feel good about wealth redistribution. Except there is none of that either.....Yeah, $20,000,000,000 surplus and they introduce new taxes, reduce payments to others and remove good schemes like the solar rebate.

    So, the $57k car tax will not raise any more money. It will result in fewer cars being sold. It will likely mean some people lose their job. And for what? A few extra million dollars will be collected and NOT spent?
  6. What on earth are you using for a work ute that you hit the luxury tax limit?!?!

    I just today (yes today) walked out of our local Mitsubishi dealer with a brand new Mitsubishi Triton ute with tray, dual air bags, electric windows, tow bar and bucket seats for $21,000.

    That's a *long* way short of $57,000...
  7. Whether luxury items should attract higher taxes and, if so, how a "luxury" item is defined are interesting questions. I'm not entirely decided either way but haven't too much of a problem with the principle of a true sliding scale for big ticket items rather than a sudden cut in at an arbitary figure. It is interesting to note that some states of the US, that bastion of low personal taxation, go one step further and tax you annually on the posession of certain "luxury" items (boats over a certain size, light aircraft etc.).

    I personally don't give a stuff whether a $57k car is taxed at a higher rate or not. I certainly wouldn't have regarded it as a policy priority were I running government, but I'm not.

    Realistically though, it affects so few people directly and involves such a footling amount of money in the greater scheme of things that it was a smart political move well worth any practical downside. It keeps the old socialist lefties onside with what is, in actuality, a fairly right-wing government (particularly in terms of social mores and general wowserism), and only really alienates those earning enough to buy $57k cars with their own money, most of whom will never vote Labor anyway and who aren't that numerous (although are becoming more so). The vast majority are, I suspect, like me in the "who cares" middle ground, if only because we are not directly affected and, like it or not, most people only develop strong (ie vote changing) opinions on any matter when they are.

    In all, I see it as more an exercise in preventing vote leakage to the Greens than as specifically targeting the better off.

    Hmm, that probably puts me broadly in agreement on the political reasons :? .

    Job losses? The local car industry is stuffed anyway, not because folk won't stump up an extra couple of grand for an SS Commodore but because it produces rather badly designed and built rubbish that hardly anyone wants to buy with their own money, and appears incapable of accepting the necessity to do anything else. Which is why, every few years, a new, expensively developed, six-pot dinosaur is launched to great fanfare, only to flop abysmally (Mitsubishi 380, Toyota Avalon) or be propped up by fleet sales (Falcodore).
  8. This one is the most laughable of them.

    The people who could afford the solar systems (no, not planets and stuff) and the ones who would buy them are now denied the rebate. For a lot of them the rebate meant the difference between affordability and justification for the installation and now not being bothered with it. Those that are now eligible are most likely to be unable to afford to get a solar system installed.

    Those who do pay for these things don't necessarily do it to save money, as they would take many many years to pay for themselves. But the rebate for many could help offset that. Rather, they did it for the 'feel good' aspect of trying to do something to offset carbon emissions.

    I know that this doesn't have anything to do with luxury vehicles, but the concept's the same. It's being seen to target the 'rich', a party favorite for this mob.

    When the ministers and other hangers-on that get access to publically funded vehicles and airline travel put their green mouthes where their rhetoric is, then we'll be seeing them driving themselves in small vehicles, no more overseas junkets on bullshit things like "fact finding tours" or "economic study missions" or whatever bullshit term you want to apply to what are plainly junkets and nothing more, and using IT to better effect, say, teleconferencing, getting staffers to research this stuff over the 'net and so on, then we can give them some credibility.

    But they won't so we can't.
  9. Bloody commies, OK I have two cars that cost more than the $57K proposed limit and earn good money.

    So not only am I paying top marginal rate, get no child allowance, pay full price for child care, pay extra medicare levy, get no solar subsidy etc etc now they want to charge me more for a new car.

    I am in the top % of wage earners and I am being unfairly taxed. Lets mean test everything, fcuking commies.
  10. Not saying it's right necessarily, but the luxury car tax has had the desirable effect (at times) of keeping some downward price pressure on vehicles that are approaching and would otherwise exceed the luxury tax threshold.
    That's not so bad.

    (I can't see me spending anything remotely close to $57K on a vehicle in this lifetime, so personally I couldn't give a sh!t :) )
  11. Its tall poppy syndrome... "Everyone should be equal... oh, except for us..."...

    I also recon its something to do with inflation and the national debt, they want to discourage you from buying a nice car, when you could pay off other debts and just have a good car... ie, the same fcuked up way that inflation and the reserve bank works...
  12. The only people who no or little tax are the poor and the super rich! The rest of us subsidise the lot.
  13. Pat, totally agree. I am not in a position to purchase a $57k car. The message it sends though is one of the politics of envy. And it's that that bothers me the most. It was what made the labour party in the UK unelectable until 1997.

    Taxation should be for raising the cash to pay for social welfare (to help the poorer off) and to provide the infrastructure that we need (in a modern society) to function. Taxes raised outside of income should have a declared function and aim. This just looks to me like an arbitrary tax levelled to do nothing other than make it look like only the rich suffer.

    BTW, been to any building sites recently? Self employed tradies are often seen in very nice looking utes, max'd out with stuff. Sure, maybe not at the $57k mark, but certainly not $21k either.

    As for the people losing their jobs? I was actually thinking of the people who sell the cars.

    And the solar rebate, that stunned me. A real gesture, something that people REALLY can make do lower their carbon impact goes from being possible, to impossible in one single move. And they say 'oh...we can lend you the money at a low interest rate', but that doesn't offset the fact that the average installation will now cost $20k.

    Hands up for Rudd being a 1 term government?
  14. Judging by the general run of opinion polls, politics of envy or not, it doesn't seem to be hurting them.

    It's going to take more than stuff like the LCT and the means tested solar rebate (which may not be quite as detrimental as it at first appeared), both of which affect electorally negligible numbers of voters in general and ALP voters in particular, to swing a change of government at the next election, particularly when you look at the state of the Opposition.

    To be honest, I'm more worried about the potential for the government's rather obviously socially conservative wowserism to impact on my life. Indeed, it already has impacted on my wife's who (as a professional artist) is noticing that, since the Henson fiasco, into which Kevin gleefully stuck an oar, many arts bodies are practising unnecessarily rigorous self censorship. Then there's the blanket internet censorship proposal and the loathsome attempt to paint anyone objecting as a child p'nogapher. It won't stop there either, because wowsers are never satisfied.

    Trouble is, in the absence of a credible third force in Oz politics, or some independents in the Senate slightly less interested in bignoting themselves than dicks like Fielding and Xenophon (or Harradine, or Lees or assorted Greens), or a relaxation of party discipline allowing members to cross the floor or some other improvement in the parliamentary process, you get to vote for a package of policies presented by one of the two majors. It pisses me off too.

    Fact is though, something over 50% of voters preferred the ALP package back in November, and, hiccups aside, a significant majority appear to still do so with no real sign of changing. Failing any really catastrophic stuff-ups, it's a package that will continue to be implemented for the next 5 years. And, whilst stuff has happened and will continue to happen that really makes my frontal lobes throb, I'm reasonably happy for that to be the case, because I've yet to see anything on offer from the other mob that's even coherent, let alone palatable.
  15. Pat, very good post. It encapsulates a lot of my thoughts. I am concerned about the politics of envy, but more so about the other points you raise.

    However, as for the people not being bothered, it can change very quickly. The NT government were a shoe in before last Saturday. The WA guys are more than a little concerned. I can see Brumby losing an awful lot of country seats come the next election and it will be interesting to see what happens in NSW.

    Political parties are only every chasing the 15-20% of voters who change their mind. A solid 40-45% of voters never change their voting habits, hence the focus on marginal issues by all the parties.

    Anyway, we will see.
  16. Umm...don't think so. They might lose ground (though I wouldn't bet on it), but apart from the staff of the Worst Australian and a dozen or so 6PR talkback callers, noone seems to have any realistic expectation of a Barnett government on Sept 7th.

    The NT was interesting, but I've since heard that, if you dig a little deeper, despite the loss of seats, the result contained Labor's second best ever primary vote in the Territory (haven't checked that though).

    As for the other states, the Vic government are certainly getting long in the tooth and due to go into decline. NSW should have been gone last year (and I'd have been first to applaud) but for the inability of the opposition to achieve even a basic level of competence and decency, and now the opposition leader's gone and got himself involved in spruiking for Costello at a federal level. There's a while to go yet so maybe. I wouldn't be sorry to see the back of the increasingly shrill Mike Rann either.

    But back to the federal arena, and yes, people can change their minds quickly, but Labor's poll lead is a big and fairly steady one. I don't know if it's unprecedented but it's not going to go away in a hurry barring something monumental. There's certainly been no sign of buyer's remorse as there was, for example, following 2004.

    Like I said, Labor have done some stuff that pisses me off quite seriously, but, based on the best information available, they're hanging on to that 15% of voters who decide elections.
  17. What has the Govt. been trying to do since November? Slow the economy to reduce inflation. A reduction in expensive car sales would be a step in that direction no?

    And what percentage of that decrease in sales is due to the increased tax, and what is down to the fact that most decent SUVs i.e not the really agricultural ones would be over $57k, and quite a lot of cars that fit in that price range are big, with big engines. and it's fuel prices that are taking a chunk out of the sales?

    While in past that's been in the case, there's no new safety technologies out there that need to be developed in expensive cars before they get passed down to the plebs. Now, it's just further upgrades to the current passive and active electronic nannies that basically all new models have.
  18. That's funny...you think some cars not getting sold will bring down inflation?

    I think the safety argument is a long bow too, but when the government made this change there was NO justification for it. Just simple 'look, we're slugging the big end of town too'. Pathetic.
  19. Any ute from HSV or FPV is over $57k! And there are plenty of them around.....
  20. Politics of envy and wowerism. I suppose better than politics of lies and division!