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    Former MSE Lawrence
    'Do you think you get good value from paying tax?' poll discussion
    • #1
    • 11th Jan 11, 9:39 AM
    'Do you think you get good value from paying tax?' poll discussion 11th Jan 11 at 9:39 AM
    Poll started 11 January 2010:

    Do you think you get good value from paying tax?

    We pay tax as a cost of living in the wider civil society, so that all the functions it requires, both for us and others are met.

    Yet if we were (probably wrongly) to think in purely selfish terms, do you feel you gain more than you lose?

    Total you pay in: Income tax, VAT, council tax and others
    Total you receive: Benefits, tax credits, NHS treatments, police, national security, council services etc
    Which of these do you think best reflects your situation?

    I receive much more than I pay in
    - 345 votes (4 %)
    I receive more than I pay in - 349 votes (4 %)
    I receive a little more than I pay in - 213 votes (3 %)
    It's roughly the same - 383 votes (5 %)
    I pay in a little more than I receive - 438 votes (6 %)
    I pay in more than I receive - 2,240 votes (28 %)
    I pay in much more than I receive - 3,899 votes (50 %)

    Voting has now closed but you can still click 'post reply' to discuss below. Thanks

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    Last edited by Former MSE Lawrence; 18-01-2011 at 2:55 PM.
Page 3
  • metalgal
    i picked i receive much more than i put it. my husband works full time and i'm a full time student and we have a daughter of 18months. we receive student grants, ctc, wtc, cb. Plus my daughter and i have regular medication and hospital appointments, also had c/s with daughter and three days in hospital afterwards. thnakfully have never needed emergency services, but my sister has needed an ambulance many times.

    my end career goal is to be working as a prosecutor so i think that the govt supporting me and my family for the next while will be worth it in the end.
  • ExpatDavid
    Too much by far!
    We have a high tax economy with too many spongers unfairly living off the efforts of others. Taxes and public spending need cutting hard and fast.
    Originally posted by jonesjw
    Well said! Governments both national and local should stick to their core business of providing essential services. If our tax burden were to be reduced substantially then we would be well able to provide the optional services for ourselves. The more tax demanded then the more those who are able to will avoid it.

    After adding duties, VAT, local taxes and other charges etc many items of expenditure will be taxed overall at very substantially more than 50% of income even without the 50% tax rate. As for so-called National Insurance the government should come clean and rename it as a tax.

    As for the unaudited EU.......
  • cherry-picker
    Perception seems very different than reality
    It seems from the result of the poll that most of us have a very different perception of what we gain from the system compared to what we put in. There also seems to be a big disconnect in our perception about the amount of personal taxt that those at the top of the income distribution pay compared to the bottom. With income tax for example the top 10% of earners pay 55% of all income tax collected, the top 1% pay over 20% of all income tax alone. For a useful analysis of this distribution by income groups see here

    There is also a diconnection in our understanding on the proportions of income paid on indirect taxes such as VAT, with some claiming that these are wildly regressive and others stating that this regressive impact is less noticeable due to lower incomes actually spending proportionately more of essentials that are zero rated. The main argument about the regressive nature of these indirect taxes seems to revolve around proportion of household income paid on indirect taxes, however this does not paint the whole picture as final household income is highly redistributive. Those in the bottom quintile of household income receive a final income which is more than double what they earn (due to tax credits etc) whereas those in the top quintile receive a houshold income which is over a 3rd lower than they earn (due toincome tax). Therefore in my view the argument on how regressive taxes such as VAT are cannot be taken in isolation and restricted to an argument over the proportion of household income that is spent on indirect taxation when that household income is affected by other tax an benefits mechanisms (income tax and tax credits which are far more progressive). For information on final income by earnings groups there is some useful information from the NSO that demonstrates this.

    From looking at the various sources of information that are freely available online it appears that most of us get far more out of the system than we contribute (in direct contradiction of the results of the poll) and our perception that the "rich" are getting a free ride is misplaced. Perhaps we just find it easy to quantify what we are contributing than we do to adequately estimate the true costs of the indirect benefits we receive?
    • queenbeeno1
    • By queenbeeno1 13th Jan 11, 1:02 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    I think so many people THINK they pay in more than they receive but seem to forget all the things we have free access to in this country. Anyone who has ever had to phone an ambulance, has never had to worry about whether they have insurance or money to pay for it. Unless you are a high rate tax payer who is never ill, and you stay at home most of the time you probably get more back than you pay in.
    For many people on low to middle incomes cutting back on services will hit them very hard, we really should appreciate all the things we do have in the UK.
  • babsanddon
    I have voted for: I pay in much more than I receive.
    I pay the standard rate of tax PAYE. Unlike the multi nationals and the banks, and the rich, who avoid tax and register overseas, whilst benefiting greatly from the infrastructure such as transport, education, grants, roads, healthcare etc. that I and other workers and ordinary taxpayers pay for. The list is endless of the benefits they gain at our expense.
    Then their publishing friends in the establishment have the audacity to complain of the odd poor family, fiddling a few quid off the dole or the “black economy”.
    Check out the rich’s involvement with the “black economy”, price fixing cartels, back hander’s, bribes, bonuses etc.
    We pay, rich benefit!!!
  • Cupcake7890
    People need to be grateful!!
    I am currently receiving treatment for cancer with chemotherapy and other various wonderful drugs. I worked full-time upto diagnosis and have done since leaving school at 16, I am now 40. My daughter has Type 1 diabetes, my youngest brother has had cancer twice, my other brother has a cardiomyothapy, my mother also had cancer...............we are all fit and well now , thanks to the NHS that is supported by our contributions I think me and my family have had more than our moneys worth.

    You all need to look at it with confidence that if were ill you would be given the relevant medication (within reason!) to make you well again. Isn't that worth the contributions we pay...!!

    Because I for one do.
  • Harry Flashman
    Damned annoying really when people pontificate without paying attention to real life circumstances.

    I have a reasonably low income (under £20K), my other half earns even less (minimum wage). We do not receive benefits (except £30 per month war pension). We rarely use medical services (I have a condition that the NHS will not fund treatment for) and have never used the emegency services. We do not have children, we buy books from charity shops rather than use the library and we do not get anything from the Council aside from refuse collection (which is pretty good by the way ).

    Add to this the tax paid on our shopping? We both drink, smoke and drive (matter of choice of course - but it still counts).

    Now - would you like to tell me again that I get more out than I put in?
    • DavidLaGuardia
    • By DavidLaGuardia 16th Jan 11, 12:34 PM
    • 600 Posts
    • 268 Thanks
    Then I see Jeremy Kyle and I understand where it all goes.

    So no, I don't think I get value for my taxes.
    Originally posted by zierisaver

    While I am not a socialist, I believe in a caring bigger society, inlcuding free health care, safety nets and and that those who have the means paying a larger share.

    Leading from the comment above though, I believe though that we have created a benefits dependent culture for many that needs to be nipped in the bud.

    I recently had the pleasure of visiting and economically viable company whose main labour consisted of people with varting physical and learning disabilities. It was an inspiration and it truly sickens me how far more able people are able to whine themselves into permanent state dependancy.

    Yes they need help in many cases, but help to becomes more self sufficient, not hand-outs.

    The most irritating counter-argument I hear in this arena is "personal choice". A choice to ride on the backs of others is not a legitimate choice. I blame the system more than I do individuals.

    One idea is that everyone should have a non-profit making income protection policy when they start work akin to that ran by friendly societies. Economies of scale would drive down costs. Most notably medical assessment would be better policed through incentives to the societies (rather than doctors sigining of folk for an easy life) and the tax payer would only need to cover those who are uninsurable from an early age.
    • DavidLaGuardia
    • By DavidLaGuardia 16th Jan 11, 12:39 PM
    • 600 Posts
    • 268 Thanks
    We do not have children,
    Originally posted by Harry Flashman
    Whether you have children or not, remember that investing today's children properly will define the wealth of the coubtry when we are old!
  • housebuyer_abc
    Well I voted for pay in much more than I receive, which in all honesty is the truth, but I'm not bitter about it.

    I have private healthcare so I pay for that and then pay for healthcare again in taxes, same with education my children go to private school but I still pay taxes for the state to run schools...

    But then again I'd rather that we educated the nation and kept it physically well and that we could afford to defend our borders and have law and order rather than a few extra pounds in my pocket

    Do we get value for money, probably not, too many have worked out ways to overburden the systems in bureaucracy and paperwork but would I rather have it the way it is or not at all?
  • fluffnutter
    What a facile and pointless question. How could anyone ever determine what they individually receive in terms of, using the example, national security or policing. Benefits aside, it's very difficult to calculate what you receive in terms of services from the state. Tax and services are not some consumer equation, whereby you can say 'I've got good value there' like it's some meal or pair of trousers fgs.
    "Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell" - Edward Abbey.
  • RAG
    Wrong poll questions
    the poll asks whether you get good value.
    The following questions though are just a numerical do I personally gain or lose.
    I get good value from paying taxes, ie good schools and hospitals even if I am not using them. Of course I pay more than I use as a 40% taxpayer but I do not resent that, that is my contribution to society to have well educated people, to have roads, police etc.
    So the poll is fallacious, ie change the heading to do I this year contribute more or less than I receive which is meaningless since we have little idea what we benefit from, ie lack of crime because of the lighting in the street, police activity or purely general education and training to give people a job and worth.
    So please change the questions to whether we feel we get VALUE for our tax contributions.
    I would say yes, very much to produce a country that I would like to live in.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 18th Jan 11, 11:51 AM
    • 7,608 Posts
    • 9,897 Thanks
    I put that I pay in More than I receive, because I think that is true at the moment gievn my personal situation as it is today. (I am a higher rate tax payer, i have private health insurance through my job, I don't have children so am not making direct use of the schools system etc)

    BUT if I were to look at it over my lifetime the picture might be different - I had state education, and althoughI was left with debts from my University eduucation I was to an extent subsidised, for most of my life I have relied on the NHS exclusively for my health and dental care, and of course I have had, and continue to have the benefit of a good police / fire / ambulance service etc, I make use of the roads system, and I know that there is a safety net, albeit not as good a one as I might wish for, which will help if I were to become unable to work, or suffer seriosu illness or disability.

    So, right now this minute, if I look narrowly as the finacial costs of the benefit I personally actually get, I think I pay in more than I get out. But that is OK. I'm very lucky to be in that position, and I think it is absolutely right that those of us who are in that position should pay so that those who are not (whether temporarily or permanently) are supported.

    I would be happy to pay more in tax if I felt it would lead to a more equal society (right nw, I think we are, as a sosciety, heading in the opposite direction, with the most vulnerable being hardest hit. I think that is unjust, I also think it is not in the long term best interests of any of us.

    It is in everyone's interest to have a well-educated society. It is in eveyone's interest to have a fair society where a person's back ground, or their parent's financial circumsntaces do not dictiaet whether they can get a decent education, or get into a career which they are suited for.

    I don't begrudge paying for schools, even though I don't have children, beacause I am a member of society, and schools, and a literate, educated population benefit us a a scoiety.

    I don't begrudge paying for the NHS becasue I think it is morally abhorrant that people should die becaue they cannot afford medicine: as a society we are and should be, better than that. Besides which, I want the NHS to be there for me and my loved ones if we need it.

    I do begrudge paying for unecessary layers of beaurocracy, and for iilegal wars, but on balance I would rather live in the society we have, and pay the amounts I pay, than pay less and live an an even more unequal society.
    Last edited by TBagpuss; 18-01-2011 at 11:57 AM.
  • moggylover
    I chose I receive MUCH more than I pay in.

    I've never claimed any kind of benefit.

    I am a 40% taxpayer.
    Originally posted by Empty pockets
    In that case I hope you voted I pay in MUCH more than I receive?

    Have i badly drafted the poll or is this a typo?
    Originally posted by MSE Martin

    I've voted the same as Empty pockets, despite paying tax at a higher rate.

    I voted that because I believe that what I actually gain for my taxes is far more than the quantifiable things that you list.

    In return for that dosh I also get to live in a Country which provides (or at least attempts to) care for the less fortunate, medical facilities which whilst by no means perfect are not dependant entirely upon the ability to pay at the point of use, and the same can be said for the fire service, the police, education, bins, etc.

    It is entirely MY choice if I choose to spend extra money on having any of those services paid for privately: and my own feeling is that any extra money would be better spent in ensuring that those state facilities are World class and removing the need for any private company to provide them.

    There are things that my taxes might be spent on that I do not approve of, and I am at liberty to argue and vote accordingly but I bear in mind that on some of those I may remain a minority that does not have the right to force others to believe as I do, and I am ever mindful that my right to vote entirely according to my own beliefs, whim or whimsy is a valuable one that many in the World are not afforded.

    Mostly not gains that are quantifiable in monetary terms: but then there is more to life than money and I acknowledge that even after paying tax I am considerably better off than a very large proportion of the population and that the amount they pay often "feels" much larger to them since what is left may not provide much of a standard of living.
    Last edited by moggylover; 18-01-2011 at 1:07 PM.
    "there are some persons in this World who, unable to give better proof of being wise, take a strange delight in showing what they think they have sagaciously read in mankind by uncharitable suspicions of them"
    (Herman Melville)
  • moggylover
    You have picked me up well on that point. I had thought of expanding my post to take the point further -

    "The system seems to be skewed in such a way that you are either a contributor or a beneficiary of the tax system..." And heaven help you if, after decades of being a net contributor, you find yourself in a position where you need to be a net beneficiary.

    As the guy in the adverts says, "It doesn't work that way" And that is why I think the current system is heavily skewed. Everyone gets trapped within a category.

    I agree about global taxation, that is well overdue. But there are many ways of reducing a tax bill without having to leave the country.
    Originally posted by RacyRed
    I don't think that is entirely true RR. Having worked for two decades and paying higher rate tax for a lot of that time, I became ill and was then left with two small children to bring up on my own. Because I had put a goodly sum into providing my own accommodation and not being mortgaged to the hilt, this meant that I could remain in my home and provide at least one area of stability for myself and the kids and I was able to claim benefits until able to return to work.

    I suppose that had I also had very large amounts of savings I might have felt "punished" because I would not have been able to get assistance, but I am mightily aware that many at the bottom of the ladder in life have scant chance of ever having any savings because their income will always be gobbled up on little more than basics in this life.

    Certainly, it was painful to have to use up the small stock of shares and investments that were meant to make my retirement easier, but I still have the very viable and sensible options of down-sizing my home once my children have left and are settled, or renting part of it out, in order to live comfortably.
    "there are some persons in this World who, unable to give better proof of being wise, take a strange delight in showing what they think they have sagaciously read in mankind by uncharitable suspicions of them"
    (Herman Melville)
  • moggylover
    It is really interesting to note that whilst the poll result suggests that people feel they are paying in more than they get: those coming to discuss that point mostly seem to feel that that is not the point and that in real terms they get good value
    "there are some persons in this World who, unable to give better proof of being wise, take a strange delight in showing what they think they have sagaciously read in mankind by uncharitable suspicions of them"
    (Herman Melville)
    • just me, again
    • By just me, again 19th Jan 11, 10:25 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    just me, again
    Don't underestimate benfits in kind
    I think the results of this survey show how difficult we find it to quantify the monetary value of services we've never paid for.

    I'd also be interested to know whether people responded thinking in terms of their current input/receipts or as an averaged out figure for their lifetimes so far.

    I've definitely received more than I've put in to date, even though I've never personally been in receipt of benefits. Just as a taster of what I've got out of the state:
    1) Antenatal and post-natal care for my mum, ensuring I arrived safely in this world. 2)14 years free full-time education and a further 4 years subsidised (and I'm heartbroken that we'll be denying others that in the future) 3)vaccinations against various potentially murderous or life-destroying diseases including measles, mumps, rubella, TB, tetnus, polio etc. 4)GP appointments and a couple of hospital referrals. 5)free dental care until I was 16, and free optical care to 18, including the screening test that first picked up my less than adequate sight 6)child support for my family to help with the cost of raising me for 16 years (another one that will soon be gone) 7)subsidy of the public transport in my area so I can avoid having a car 8)public libraries 9)public funding so that I can pop into a museum or gallery for free at the weekend and can afford sometimes to go to the theatre 10)My bins collected every week 11)two 999 calls for sick housemates (technically they received the treatment I guess, but there is some value, however hard to assign, to having no financial concerns about making that call), 12)subsidised swimming pools 13)policing cover 24 hours a day 7 days a week - I may never yet have needed to call, but if it wasn't there I'd have to think about alternatives.....the list goes on and on and many items we just don't think about because they've always been there. There's also plenty where I haven't been the direct beneficiary, but the help given to others has protected me - like the foreign office and police support for the family of a friend murdered abroad or the medical treatment received by people I love. You've also got to consider, even if you've never claimed, what it would cost to get private insurance against being incapacitated, losing your job and not finding another for a spell, facing a winter so cold your elderly parents couldn't cover the heating bills and all the other possible pitfalls that our society has agreed to collectively insure against through tax and benefits. I think if you reversed the numbers polled here we'd be closer to the truth - only the very rich would be better off if we taxed people less and left them to fend for themselves.
    • Ashley3283
    • By Ashley3283 25th Jan 11, 3:05 PM
    • 208 Posts
    • 1,587 Thanks
    This country needs a HUGE kick up the backside.

    Why can't single mothers with children at school 6 1/2 hours per day work instead of claiming for a whole host of benefits (housing, child, income support etc. etc.)? Or more importantly why are they not forced to?
    If I was in power I'd give them 6 months to find a job, if they still don't then they would be forced to work for there benefits in the form of litter picking and other forms of unskilled labour, if they refuse to do this then stop all benefits.
    The problem is that young kids seem to think that they have 2 choices when they leave school. Get a job or have a baby and get every thing paid for. SERIOUSLY what kind of person plans to have a baby without being able to provide for it.
    The other thing that I would do is privatise the NHS or make private healthcare insurance compulsory.
    I would also have much, much, much stricter immigration policies.
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