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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

Limit of Exemption from Income Tax

Limit of Exemption from Income Tax.

I do not wish to lay down any arbitrary amount at which that limit should be fixed. I am inclined to believe that, if the necessaries of life were cheapened by the abolition of all duties on them, the limit adopted in the United States—£200 a year—might prove to be a fair one here.

I do not mean that the receiver of £200 a year should go scot free, and the receiver of £201 a year pay so much in the £ on his whole income. I think the receiver of £200 or less might be allowed to live exempt, from all taxes, except a registration fee of £1 a year as an elector, if an adult, entitled to a vote for Members of the House of Representatives in the electoral district where he has been registered for six months. The receiver of £201 should be called on to pay the £1 in respect of the £200, and on the excess at whatever rate the income tax might be fixed. If it were a shilling in the £, he would pay £1 Is.; if it were sixpence in the £, he would pay £1 0s. 6d. The receiver of £300 would pay £1 on the first £200, and also Is. or 6d. in the £—amounting to £5 or £2 10s. as the case might be, on the excess of £100 above the limit. If the tax were 6d. in the £, the man whose income is £300 would pay £3 10s.; the man whose income is £1,000 would pay £1 on the first £200, and £20 on the £800 in excess of it—£21 in ail.

Thus no adult, even though an abstainer from all stimulants, would bo an elector, and yet totally exempt from contribution to the cost of Government; the necessaries of life, literally interpreted, would be procurable at prime cost by every dweller in the land; and every receiver of income above what would by that, means become a competence for a frugal man and his family, would be made to contribute to the pecuniary cost of Government, in proportion to the pecuniary benefit which he might derive from sound public institutions.