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The Where-Do-My-Taxes-Go Calculator


{ 45 } Comments

  1. Kevin Rudd | May 14, 2010 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    Way to go, Swannie. Love your work, mate.

  2. Ryan Kirgan | May 25, 2010 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    I thought it interesting to note that at $172,200, the average (cf. marginal) tax rate for an individual for FY10-11 is 30%. I’m not an accountant in even the loosest sense of the word, but I wonder if this is a threshold value of importance in that it is the highest taxable income you can receive before you start paying more than the current company tax rate (of 30%).

    Obviously there are more factors to consider when deciding whether to be a sole trader/company, but I’m assuming if you earn less than this value, the tax advantages aren’t the same.

    This isn’t advice, just a musing.

  3. Ryan Kirgan | May 25, 2010 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    Also, for FY09-10 this was $156,900.

    Maybe the accountants out there can suggest whether a individual earning $160k in FY09-10 that was registered as a company (to pay the lower average rate of 30% vs. 30.16% – about $250 difference) would then benefit from deregistering and become a sole trader in FY10-11 (29.47% vs. 30% – $850 difference)!

  4. Fred Stanvic | June 18, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    If only those numbers were anywhere near correct.

    My contribution is a lot more than you numbers show. Petrol tax, GST, Rates, Land tax, stamp duty et al make you puny 20% figure look positively anemic.

    How about closer to 50% or even more

  5. Daniel Shepherd | June 18, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I like your work (making this page), and yes, I am not happy about where “it” is being spent.
    This doesn’t take into account all the other surcharges, fuel levies, GST, Rates, etc. that we pay.
    Perhaps the page could at least be updated to reflect GST as well.

  6. loren noble | June 19, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I wish you would extend this work to take in GST, Land Tax, Rates, etc. A few years ago I was caught twice with the very unpopular Exit Tax from NSW Govt. It was rescinded weeks after charging me but never refunded. All of us need to know how much we are being charged. The American Founding Fathers recommended in their Constitution that Government be kept small, but they keep getting bigger and the money they administer is often squandered unnecessarily i.e. ceiling insulation, school halls, etc. There are Americans doing Shadow Statistics, that is the real info not, but I don’t see anyone doing similar work here. Are you interested in extending your work to include all forms of taxation? Let me know please. Loren.

  7. sheryl abe | June 25, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    I second all of the above. And loren is right; calculates American economic statistics as they did in the early eighties. The result is mindboggling. The real unemployment rate in the USA is closer to 22%; the green shoots were statistical tricks;there is NO recovery in the USA and in fact it’s about to get a whole lot worse.
    I love the work this guy here is doing! it is empowering to know where one’s tax dollar goes, and makes us more sceptical of politicians’ rhetoric.

  8. Alex | June 28, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Does the “social security and welfare” category include all those circular payments like baby bonus and all the other stuff aimed at letting families on average earnings pay no tax? The amount going to welfare is quite breathtaking.

  9. craig | September 15, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I’d be interested to follow through the total tax on a common item say a loaf of bread. With all the state and federal taxes an duties from the seed through transport the various companies involved in the chain it would be interesting to see the compounding effect of taxation.

  10. Eric | October 19, 2010 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    When deciding whether to be a sole trader or company, you need to look at your marginal rate, not your average rate.

    If your business earns more than $85k in net profit before tax, then you probably should set up a company.

  11. Ryan Kirgan | September 7, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink


    I’m not sure I understand why you would have to look at your marginal tax rate?

    If my taxable income was $85,000 in 2010-11 wouldn’t I pay $19,400 in tax (= 22.82%), but as a company $25,500 (= 30%; the company tax rate?) The reason being that personal income tax is a progressive tax, whereas the company tax rate is a flat 30%?

  12. Ryan Kirgan | September 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    @Fred, Daniel, Loren and Sheryl

    Thanks for the feedback. I looked into doing this, but there were just too many parameters and unique circumstances to calculate this is a simple way.

    Maybe if I paid less tax, I wouldn’t have to work as much and with the free time could develop the calculator :)

  13. Ryan Kirgan | September 7, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Permalink


    I’m not too sure exactly what makes up the “Social Security and Welfare”, but I would assume that the Baby Bonus, funded by the Government, would fall under this category.

  14. Ryan Kirgan | September 7, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Permalink


    Another really good suggestion. A flow map identifying all taxes, duties etc. from raw material to finished good would be really interesting to see.

  15. truth warrio | September 14, 2011 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Can we see some proof of where the moeny actually goes, any reciepts /documents please

  16. Ryan Kirgan | September 30, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    @truth warrio
    I think Treasury looks after this.

  17. Tom | October 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I third what Fred Daniel Loren and Shryl mentioned, but understand that our taxing system is so complex, that Ryan would need a year off to build a model to include all taxes.
    Btw,did you know taxes make up over 40% of your house purchase price if you build in Sydney?
    Income tax as a % of Government revenue is approx 40% based on Ryan’s pie chart above.
    It works out for me being (paying 27% of my salary as income tax) to be a total of approx 68% of my salary – ouch – that ultimately covers government spend inc, gst and other taxes that have to be passed on to consumers (payroll, etc), duties, excises, et al.

  18. Ryan Kirgan | November 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    There is a really good site that similarly shows the breakdown of your taxation contributions, but with more granularity on what makes up these larger spend categories:

    A few things that I thought were really telling was that the “Social Security & Welfare” spend area is predominantly made up with assistance to the aged (as opposed to what I suspect is the preconception that it is the unemployed). Family Tax Benefits are also a very high contributor.

    Another point of interest was that non-Government schools receive more government expenditure than Government schools. That said, it would be good to understand the number of students serviced by each (i.e. are there 4 times as many kids in NG schools?)

  19. Eric | March 5, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Your calculations are correct in that the average personal tax rate results in lower tax paid than a company at an income of $85k. What you have forgotten is that the business owner would never keep retained earnings in the business if his/her personal income is less than the taxable income level at which the marginal personal tax rate equals the company tax rate ($80k in FY2012). If his business make $85k this year before owner’s wages and tax, then the owner should pay himself a wage up to $80k. He would pay $17,550 tax on that, and the company would pay $1500 tax on the remaining $5k in retained earnings. The total tax bill for the business owner and his business is $19,050, which is less than the tax paid if the owner had stayed a sole trader ($19,400). By incorporating, the businessperson saves $350 in tax over what a sole trader would pay.

    This is why you need to look at marginal tax rates, and not average tax rates. If your marginal personal income tax rate is greater than the company tax rate (30%), then you should incorporate.

    If you’d like further clarification, feel free to contact me.

  20. Ryan Kirgan | March 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Eric. This makes perfect sense! Much appreciated.

  21. Fraser | April 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Using the simplistic pie chart provided in the budget overview without explaining more of the breakdown of “generel” government services is a bit misleading. From what I could gather from the budget website, that amount is including things like law enforcement, gst-related payments to the states, the remnants of the stimulus package, natural disaster relief, environment spending…the list goes on. On a more detailed budget breakdown, general government services is only about 6% of spending, most of which goes to DFAT, AusAid, Treasury and the ATO.

  22. Ryan Kirgan | April 18, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    @Fraser As mentioned above, is a great site for providing more detail around the budget breakdown if you are interested.

  23. Custom avatar Wayne Swan | May 8, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Boom shakalaka! Swannie got game.

  24. worker | May 26, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    i think we need to reduce the amount of politician by 30% then scrap the welfare for anyone who can function in the workplace after 12months and we all will be better off, its no wonder why so many tradesman ask for cash only thses days , how can anyone live after paying high living costs

  25. Bianca | June 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    It would be nice if we had a system where WE choose where our taxes are distributed to. Maybe we could then have stats released every 3-6 months which detail us on the current status of each govt service, giving us the oportunity to continuously renew our distribution choices. Sounds like democracy!
    I’m not sure reducing the amount of politicians would help. Having a larger amount of younger representatives in parliament could do us well, considering the future is ours and all. . .

  26. Eric | October 5, 2012 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    If only we could opt out of the welfare system – reduce our personal tax liabilities and reduce welfare payments as a proportion of total expenditure in one hit!

  27. Ryan Kirgan | October 5, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    It’s an interesting point @Eric. With Social Security and Welfare at $132m and Income Tax Revenue at $163m they almost net out.

    If the former wasn’t required and income tax revenue was reduced by $132m to $31m, your tax liability could be reduced to 19% of what you currently pay.

    Would be nice if it weren’t required for tax payers, but no doubt even nicer for those dependent on welfare not to be so anymore. Unfortunately this will never be the case.

  28. Ben neldner | October 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    I can t believe that centre link is roughly a third of this countrys expenditure is 30% I wonder how this compares to other countries around the world? It seems excessively high and would love to see these dollars better spent. I love the idea of drug testing doll bludgers to get there cheque as Florida in the USA has just done.

  29. stinkybum | November 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Don’t panic everyone. I think most of the welfare money goes back into the economy, even old people and bludgers buy stuff.

  30. Nick | January 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Great work Ryan…this quickly provides me with an understanding of how our country works. I like the balanced and thoughtful nature of your comments too.

  31. Glass Houses | April 13, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    I believe polititions should be DIRECTLY affected by the policies they invoke on tax payers. Their wage sould be discounted by the umount of un-employment, they should use public transprot. Their super should have the same rules as ours. also i agree with others, we should have a say in where and how our money is spent. so many other things but where do i stop

  32. Jack | April 28, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    That Social security chunk it particularly vicious for Kiwis working over here.

    Kiwis aren’t eligible for that social security chunk, so i would argue that Kiwis should get that back from their taxes.

    Of course, I think anyone else’s should be allowed to opt out of it as well, but their decision would have to be irreversible.

  33. Custom avatar Wayne Swan | May 14, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m really just making this s$#t up as I go along

  34. Joseph | May 25, 2013 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    So, according to your site my marginal tax rate is 38.7% (yes, I earn a fair bit). But as a few have already suggested, after all the other taxes I also pay, what amount of my earnings are really stolen from me?

    Governments in general are wasters, but this mob takes the biscuit.

  35. Angela | July 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    For those Kiwi’s who are ineligable for social security and welfare they are paying more than one third of their tax for something that is not available for them. That’s not fair at all. This amount should be refunded every year when their tax return is completed.

  36. Blah | July 20, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Wondering what “other purposes” is… pretty high percentage…

  37. Jeremy | August 9, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    There are two very big issues that would make the whole pie graph more interesting, and more useful to people debating whether or not the government is wasting money.
    The first is to show the split between money kept by the federal government versus money handed back to the states to spend. There is no point in beating up the feds about how the GST gets spent by the states, and anyone who wants to know why the federal government spends so much on private schools needs to understand that they are compensating for where the states distribute their education budgets. that’s pretty easy to add into the model.
    The second is the split between administered funds and the government’s own budget. Centrelink handles billions as pensions, but only costs millions to run. Whenever people are complaining about government waste, they imagine the budget is all spent on running the bureaucracy – if you could show what percentage of the federal budget was spent on public servants, I suspect it would be about one third of one percent – add in IT and office space and it would still be under one percent.

  38. Rowena | October 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    I’m a Kiwi – been living/working here for 8 years – can someone explain to me why I am paying full tax for services etc that I cannot access?

  39. peter | November 26, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I’d love to know the REAL figure, by the time you take in all the hidden charges the government gets from us, including stamp duties, GST, levies, “dividends” taken from water, gas and electricity utilities, etc, etc, etc

  40. Peter H. | December 7, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this very interesting page.

    I find the whole thing quite disgusting. I see it as fraud and criminality on a massive scale. Government creates huge entrenched problems of anti-social and corrupt behaviour that are very difficult to get rid of.

    Most of the tax taken is not to fund legitimate functions of government but only
    a) churning – taking from A and giving back to A after gouging a huge chunk for the parasites, or
    b) handouts made necessary by government interventions making productive activity impossible.

    The single best reform would be for all payments for so-called “social” programs, including social security, health, education, etc. etc. to be made in cash into a single account for each person; and all those bureaucratic empires abolished. That way we would know who are net tax payers and who are net tax consumers. We would also find out whether people actually want those services in the first place.

  41. the real truth | May 2, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Had a quick look at the website. While it looks like a thorough breakdown at first glance a little bit of research is telling. Under aged care they list ‘mature age assistance’ (or similar) at $843m (or similar)… no longer have the site open in front of. However, if you follow the link below you will find that these payments ceased years ago. How much more of the site is invalid?

  42. pamela godsall-smith | May 19, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Where can I find out the list of ex-parliamentarians and how much their “pensions” are, their ages, and what other allowances they have.

  43. Bertus | June 15, 2014 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    I have been toying with a new taxation model – extremely rough, but here it is…

    I call it the triple-tithe tax system. Basically, the individual pays:
    a)10% GST, as is current. This goes to state.
    b)10% of gross income to federal gvt. This will cover a new and reduced purview that this model requires the Fed Gov to have (see below)
    c)as a legal requirement, a final 10% is to be given as a registered “donation” to a community work of the tax payer’s choosing (within certain nominated guidelines)
    d)land rates for local councils – I haven’t thought too much about this amount…

    To make this work, the Federal Government will have to limit its purview to governance of the national interest, rather that sticking its nose into community matters. It will need only look after Defence, establishing common law, national highways, customs and international ports, diplomacy and intelligence and other similar areas. It should not be responsible for health and education as these should be community matters.

    State government should address corporate law, local roads, conservation, emergency services and the regulation of utilities. Once again, no health and no education.

    Local government should handle local issues such as the processing of waste, community services (such as sporting fields, libraries and the like) and local property regulations.

    There will need to be a fourth group – the community sector. In this model, this could be a charity, a church group, or whoever, to whom individuals will direct their 10% community tax donation. These will cover schools, hospitals, aged care, welfare for the marginalised, assistance for those not well off etc. These traditionally have been community issues that governments have recently taken over in order to attempt to offer universal health and education. This noble ideal has resulted in huge taxes, and large portions of polarised societies having to pay money to causes with which they disagree, or services which they do not require (the Kiwi example already mentioned is a case in point). In this proposed model, tax payers will now have the opportunity to direct their funds where they wish. Community groups will have to lobby at a local level to earn their funds, but the money is there to be given (remember, it will need to be a legal duty to pay this 10% donation) and so hopefully noone will go without. This will take the burdens off government, will minimise red tape, result in better service due to the local nature of these organisations (the apparent success of the new decentralised foster care system would support this claim) and will keep tax payers happy.

    Obviously company tax will have to play its role in this model (yet to be determined) and the business sector will have to play a major role in developing and maintining many services (like power generation and public transport). I don’t know yet how far these last services can be removed from government regulation and control and I hesitate to include this whole comment at this stage.

    Obviously this is all a very loose frame work, so I am sure that your generous comments will likely challenge points that I have addressed, but have not documented here. Still, I welcome all comments and feedback to this model so that I can test the idea and refine it!

  44. Peter | June 19, 2014 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    I wonder how it would net out if we ran a negative income tax .
    If we declared a poverty level of say 30,000 a year anyone earning below we make up .
    No other welfare payment .
    Run it through the tax dept.
    Close down all welfare depts.

  45. Annette | June 29, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Someone commented on net tax, and another asked did the welfare figure include baby bonus. This figure does include pensions, baby bonus, family tax benefit and any other social welfare payment.

    We are being told that half of us pay no net tax, and this has been reported in front page news as being a ‘welfare nation’.

    If we go back to 2007, at the end of the 4th term of the Howard government we see that the treasurer Peter Costello stated happily that 60% of families pay no net tax. And he said this was good for families and low income earners. Their family tax benefit was more than the tax they were paying.

    We didn’t see headlines announcing that we are a nation of bludgers on welfare.

    Now that the figure has been brought down to 48% since 2007 under the Labor government. Yet we are seeing headlines and stories from the Abbott government saying that supposedly under Labor our economy in crisis and welfare spending out of control.

    This is not true, there is no budget crisis, and anyone who looks into the figures can see that Labor reduced by 12% the percentage of families paying no net tax, from 60% down to 48%.

    Look at the facts.

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