There seems to be quite a few billionaires who want to pay more tax, but for some reason cannot.
I once wrote of the importance of voluntary tax, which could be facilitated with an appropriate piece of legislation. Clearly recognition is important – just as donors to charities are applauded, so too should we recognise those who contribute to the Australian consolidated revenue fund beyond their statutory obligation.
Here are some quotes from some wealthy people wanting to pay more tax (courtesy of news.com.au).
I like the idea of encouraging the wealthy to become philanthropists and if they don’t , charge them more tax.
(Doesn’t tax deductibility encourage philanthropy?)
My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our Government to get serious about shared sacrifice.
(Isn’t sacrifice something voluntary?)
Liliane Bettencourt (L’Oreal heiress)
When the public finances deficit and the prospects of a worsening state debt threaten the future of France and Europe … it seems necessary for us to contribute.
(But when the public finances are sound, there is no need to contribute?)
Daniel Petre (Netus)
The reality in Australia is that many of our most wealthy don’t even pay the marginal tax rates, they don’t even pay the company tax rate, through the use of offshore trusts for example.
(yes, but they might be happy paying voluntary tax when there is sufficient recognition and shaming of those who choose not to pay voluntary tax)
Luca di Montezemolo (Chairman of Ferrari)
You have to begin by asking it of those who have most, because it is scandalous that it should be asked of the middle class.
(the voluntary tax would allow governments to ask nicely for some money)
Clive Palmer (mining magnate)
I’m happy to pay more personal tax.
(voluntary tax would allow Clive to pay more personal tax)
Clearly these people are crying out for a means to make a bigger contribution to the public purse. Indeed Australia could reap the benefits of voluntary tax contributions from Warren Buffett who must have been rebuffed when he tried to transfer more money to the US Treasury.
Voluntary tax – it’s time is now. It partly addresses the principal-agent problem as voluntary tax can be withdrawn if the government does not spend it wisely. Surely these wealthy people have enough aptitude and initiative to work out how much tax they should pay rather than the government telling them?