Government’s proposed cash ban could hit money-stashing pensioners

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There’s a theory that the government’s proposed ban on cash payments for purchases over $10,000 is a ploy to give banks greater control of your money, but that theory is “far-fetched” says the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which claims the real motive is to fight the black economy.

The cash ban passed the Lower House last year and was to come into effect on 1 January, but will not be implemented until after a Senate inquiry that is under way.

The Senate has received thousands of submissions, with many concerned it gives the banks and authorities too much control, according to abc.net.au.

The controversial bill will ban any cash payments over $10,000 and mandates a two-year prison sentence for anyone using cash for payments above the threshold.

Many members of the public are angry about the bill, saying the government has no right to interfere in how people spend their cash. Others have expressed concern that if they have to deposit too much money in the bank, they could be affected by negative interest rates.

The government claims the measure is intended to fight the black economy, stamp out tax evasion, stop money laundering and prevent other crimes.

Those concerned believe the proposed law will leave people’s bank deposits vulnerable to negative interest rates.

But the RBA rejected the view that the proposed law was “a precursor to the imposition of negative interest rates and the government deciding to withdraw cash from circulation”, noting that RBA governor Philip Lowe had already indicated negative interest rates were extremely unlikely.

“With respect, I think some of those concerns that you’ve alluded to are a little far-fetched,” RBA head of payment policy Tony Richards told the Senate inquiry last month.

According to RBA research, “very large transactions by households are very infrequent and, when they occur, they use electronic payment methods or occasionally cheques” but that “cash is [still] a very important part of our payment system and our economy”.

Even though fewer people use cash for major purchases, many Australians still store a considerable amount of wealth in physical bank notes, says Dr Richards, who estimates that there is around $80 billion in cash circulating daily, with around 75 per cent of that being held in storage by Australians.

“If you just take the numbers literally, it would be roughly $2000 [per household], but in actual fact it’s probably the case that most households have very little and a few households have a lot, and maybe people overseas hold Australian dollars,” he said.

When asked why the government would want to stop people being able to store money “under their bed and not in the bank”, Mr Richards replied: “This was a recommendation of the Black Economy Taskforce”.

The taskforce believes the cash limit would hinder criminal activity by stopping gangs from using large cash amounts to buy cars, houses and jewellery and other money-laundering schemes.

The taskforce estimates that about $50 billion is lost to the black economy annually.

Some MPs, such as independent MP Andrew Wilkie, have said they will not support the bill, because they back public concerns the law will “push people into the clutches of the banks”.

What do you think of this new law?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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164 Comments

Total Comments: 164
  1. 0
    0

    The black economy is theft of taxes that should be going into the economy, this amount of money could be used to help those in need, how would you stop it, not in the way suggested, I often feel like withdrawing all my money from the bank and sticking it under the bed, let’s face it who trusts the banks! Maybe government bonds, do we trust the government any more than the banks? I think all of us might have used the black economy at sometime during our lives, no admission of guilt here, maybe a flat tax on everyone and remove tax claims on expenses, but then who will invest in new and existing companies? Is there an answer to what is basically a moral question, in an ideal world everyone would pay their taxes, everyone would be treated equally, unfortunately there is no such thing as an ideal world.

    • 1
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      Jim; You’re correct in referring the black economy is ” theft of taxes ”
      & that ‘ this amount of money could be used to help those in need ‘.
      But actually that is where it ends. True: The black economy does exist, but it is far smaller than what the public is being falsely lead to believe & a recent worldwide exhaustive IMF long-term study, publicly released in 2017, has proven that countries who have gone ” cashless ” like Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Japan, to name only four; there are several others . . . actually have resulted in a ‘ black economy that is running rampant ‘.

      In truth, it is the ” Big End of Town, our big four banks & other big wig international entities, including many politicians on outrageously fat paychecks ” who are the true villains “. For decades they’ve deliberately conspired & expended great effort to deprive Australia & other countries worldwide of receiving their fair share of the tax burden.

      No offence implied Jim; but perhaps you don’t know that the Head Honcho of the Taskforce who compiled this report at the behest our Federal Government, was none other than the ” Global Boss ” of KPMG, an Aussie named Andrew – now deceased, I forget his surname.
      This ‘ biggest in the world ‘ accounting entity, along with a few ” like others ” has been investigated, charged, convicted & hugely fined in International Courts in relation to their involvement in $Billions of deliberate tax evasion, money laundering for drug lords, illicit weapons dealers, etc. And is currently being investigated ” in Australia ” for the exact same reasons.

      And our Federal Government then charges them with investigating Australia’s so -called ” Black Economy ” ?? In all decency, something has to be drastically, obscenely & inherently W R O N G there.

      Just like you Jim, over an honest working life I’ve paid my fair share of personal income tax obligations & been done with it. Even cheerfully so on the principle that generally I’m safe, secure, free to enjoy life & pursue my own happiness, as long as it doesn’t cause harm to anyone else.

      Has it ever been thought that if everyone; individuals, business
      ( massive, big or small ), willingly paid their fair share of the tax pie, tax rates across the board would be significantly lower, politicians golden handshakes would be acceptably smaller & government bureaucracy wouldn’t be the behemoth it is, because they wouldn’t need to employ tens or hundreds of thousands of employees just to chase, catch, convict, fine & or jail tax evaders. And unfortunately, the latter rarely happens, as often as it really should!

    • 1
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      Yes I agree, with everything you have said, I was playing the devils advocate ie I don’t believe a word of the article and cashless societies have been mooted for years, I recall Singapore saying many years ago that by about 2000 they would be cashless, I was in Singapore last year, I asked the taxi driver why they hadn’t gone cashless, he just laughed and said it would never happen, too many tourists and too many tax opportunities.
      As far as the black economy goes, I have read somewhere that our black economy was about 9.8% of gdp some countries like Italy and Greece have a black economy of about 24% of gdp, I don’t know if any of those figures are correct, although they must be because I read it on the internet LOL .

    • 0
      0

      Just checked different sources for how much the black economy was worth re the gdp and the estimates ranged from 1.2% to 15% bit of a difference from the different sources!

    • 0
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      I’ve thought this through – the black economy may evade income tax, but re-enters we have re-entry, Houston) the tax system the moment cash is spent… and is thus eventually re-absorbed by tax. It is only those with excess discretionary income who are, in reality, a black hole in taxation and thus the budget – since they have the opportunity to hoard money away into non-taxpaying ventures, overseas holidays, transfers out to tax havens, overseas purchases, or other ventures of the same nature.

      Governments are not innocent here – they routinely give contracts to Offshore nations/business running into the many billions – without any reciprocal arrangement for that nation/business to return the favour by investing billions in this nation.

      Yes – it is illegal to evade income tax, and when caught, offenders should be severely punished – but in reality it is small fish in the budget losses afflicting this nation.

      Put simply – all moneys kept within Australia and not subverted into local tax havens such as family and one person businesses, trust funds, super funds, and so forth – is no loss to the budget. Put simply – that means that in reality only your wage and salary earners pay their full measure of tax…

    • 0
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      Just as it”s ever been TREBOR. In fact if you add up income taxes, GST, rates, regos, levies, tolls, and necessary insurances then actually having any discretionary funds left is amazing.

      The PAYG wage and salary earners are definitely paying far too much of any burden.

    • 0
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      Drewbie, we haven’t gone cashless in Switzerland, cash is used a lot every day here. We have a 1000 swiss franc note (worth roughly about aud$1500) that is used a lot to pay bills at the post office, naturally we have ebanking, credit cards, debit cards too, but paying bills with cash is still pretty popular.

    • 0
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      Drewbie – I am a citizen of Switzerland and I can assure you that cash is far from dead. Fact two thirds of all payments are still made by cash (yesterday’s Swiss News). They have issued a new CHF1000 note just last November (CHF1000 equals $A1400). Have been to Sweden and Denmark as well as Japan last year and using cash was no problem. Paid all my hotel bills in cash as well. Some people here are engaged in kite flying to frighten us oldies.

    • 0
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      The $A100 discrepancy above is the value in the papers is higher but changing a note here you will get the lower amount. Changed a couple of them here after arriving back last November so I should know. The money changer made the $A100 profit.

  2. 0
    0

    What next. Won’t affect those MPs who get given freebies and free travel etc. Why should people trust the banks after their past record. This will not stop money laundering or the black economy. Chase those companies that earn millions and pay NO tax.

  3. 0
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    $50 billion is a drop in the bucket compared to the billions lost to the multinational corporations paying no tax, taking large subsidies and profit shifting off shore. The black economy may shift some funds but most of that money flows around local communities in local spending. It’s not as if the government is spending taxes wisely either.

    If it’s all so improbable then why did we need the Bail In Legislation passed so sneakily. Not just negative interest rates but taking off with most of the deposits being forcefully held by banks who have proved over and over to be less than honest.

    Personally I don’t trust either the banks, the RBA or the government now. The days of honest and upright men doing the moral thing are long gone.

    • 0
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      Rae, it would be nice if you compared like with like. Those using the black economy to evade tax are worlds apart from those who, legally, avoid tax by following the laws set down by various governments.

    • 0
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      Rae, HC is correct, major corporations are protected by the government, the peasants are fleeced by the government, there is a big difference between the two.
      What is this country coming to when the government thinks it can interfere with an individuals right to spend and manage their own money.
      If I want to use cash instead of electronic transfers that is my business, I do not need a Commisar to decide for me. Is this Australia or the old USSR for gods sake.
      What ever happened to the Liberal dogma of not letting government have too much control over the lives of the individual?

    • 0
      0

      Yes Horace and the big difference shows up in the current account and trading ledgers which are terrifying.

      Why foreign corporations and foreign service providers are subsidised and untaxed, often with public funds, as they shuffle billions offshore is a question Government won’t go anywhere near.

  4. 0
    0

    Frankly – it stinks! Those for whom it is said it is directed at – the shysters in our society – will always find ways to dodge any scheme designed to trap them, whereas for those like me who are trying to save up to buy a second hand car for cash – instead of paying off interest on a loan for the same, will be at the mercy of the government and sent broke! About time this big noting, do-nothing prime minister of ours gets his act together and knocks this useless scheme back into the 19th century where it belongs!

    • 0
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      How can you be sent broke saving up for a car? Makes no sense at all to me.

    • 0
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      What I read was going broke financing a car. It is quite easy for someone to do this if ghey have to sign a loan with a loan shark.
      You did notvunderstand what was written, that is why it does not make sense.
      The government doesn’t like cash because their .backers in tha banks will suffer from reduced profits from fees and charges if people choose not to use them.
      This government has proven that it protects banks at all costs.

    • 0
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      @Pass the Ductape: You don’t need to save money “under the bed” to pay cash for a car. You can save it in an account. Then when you have enough, buy the car.

      Buying a car ‘with cash”, doesn’t mean it has to be with actual physical money – it just means NOT credit (a loan).

      No-one can make you take out a loan and that is not what this is about.

    • 1
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      Rod63 – Don’t always assume you can save up for a car in your bank account. It depends on whether you are paid the Aged Pension under the Income Test or the Assets Test. If you only receive a small part Aged Pension under the Income Test Centrelink take account of your bank balances every time they do the assessment and then your part pension fluctuates. I agree with Drewbie’s comments. It is fine when the big end of town cheats but not when the ‘ordinary’ folk try to do the best they can for themselves.

    • 0
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      If the big end of town did cheat on their taxes then they would be prosecuted very quickly for doing so. They just learn the rules and play the game like every one should.

    • 0
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      Thanks for the clarification re pensions, Hardworker.

    • 0
      0

      Re those who want to pay cash for a car – the other side of the coin is selling a second hand car. Suppose I want to sell my car for $15000 or anything above $10000. I personally have a problem with scams of money transfers etc. I would prefer to get the cash in my hand and then take it to the bank. Or better yet, go to the bank with the buyer and have him remove cash and let me deposit it without leaving the bank.

    • 0
      0

      1. ‘RBA governor Philip Lowe had already indicated negative interest rates were extremely unlikely’…..
      Extremely unlikely?! Pull the other one – it plays jingle bells! If negative interest rates are required, it’ll happen!

      2. ‘Others have expressed concern that if they have to deposit too much money in the bank, they could be affected by negative interest rates’…..
      This where YOU pay the government interest through your own bank by having it sit in an account with them.

      3. ‘The controversial bill will ban any cash payments over $10,000 and mandates a two-year prison sentence for anyone using cash for payments above the threshold’…..

      FFS…I saved up for 14 years to pay cash for a replacement battery bank for my solar power system which cost over $17,000 recently. The money was in fact an estimate of the quarterly power payments accrued over that same period and I’m now in the process of doing the same again in readiness for the next battery bank – hopefully not less than in another 14 years. And by then, who knows what the cost of a new battery bank will be! I’ll have to try and anticipate as I go so I’ll have enough money saved when it’s required.

      I thought it was called prudent budgeting, but I’m guessing if government goes ahead with it’s daft scheme, I won’t be able to pay for power I need, in cash – because if I do – I’ll be a candidate for jail!

      And God knows what’ll happen if Centrelink finds out what I’m doing – I’ll probably be doing a lot more than 2 years. Well stuff ’em all – I’ve had a gut-full of the lot!

    • 0
      0

      And I just want a car that runs well and doesn’t need to me acquire a loan to get! I’m not interested in having to fall down and beg to government, a bank, or centrelink for the privilege to do so! Not much to ask is it? Or maybe these days it is!

    • 0
      0

      Hardworker, if you are saving cash ‘under your mattress’ instead of a bank account (and I do not criticise you for doing so) then are you not part of the ‘black economy’ by hiding assets from Centrelink. Anyway was not one reason we were given for inflicting Mr Hewson’s/Mr Howard’s GST on us was to kill the ‘Black Economy”. It didn’t kill the ‘Black Economy’ then and it will not kill it under this new proposal.
      We already have reporting laws about transactions in excess of $10000 (as some of the big banks allegedly chose to ignore) and they do not stop money laundering. For instance, If a criminal and an accomplice each takes $9900 (which is below the reporting threshold) of ‘dirty’ cash (ie the proceeds of crime etc) to the casino and buy gambling chips with it then one can then cash in all the chips and get a legitimate transaction (ie cheque or bank transfer from the casino) and the $19800 (which is a reported transaction) is now ‘clean’ money. So if a criminal wants a $100000 car then only have to make five tips to the casino to pay with ‘clean’ money, just too simple.
      The ‘Black Economy’ includes many ‘honest’ people (myself included) who aid and abet other people to circumvent their tax obligations. I refer to paying cash for work done and not requesting a receipt thereby allowing the payee to pocket the cash and not put it though their ‘books’. The payee may not pay tax on the proceeds and any GST will be credited against other jobs which do go through the books.

    • 0
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      Eddy, as others have pointed out, if it not against the law it is perfectly OK to deprive the government of tax revenue. I.see hiding money under the bed as no different than moving profits off shore to avoid tax.
      The bed should be regarded as the poor mans off shore tax haven.

    • 0
      0

      The point I made exPS was that having your savings ‘under the bed’ was in effect hiding cash assets from Centrelink, and I suspect that is against the law. I also suspect that there ae many people who do exactly that and I am not the least critical of them (I know my late mother had a sizable sum hidden in her house). If ones savings are ‘under the bed’ and not earning ‘interest’ (lol) in the bank that’s okay, the tax man is only interested in the income earned not the capital secreted.

  5. 0
    0

    The big banks are huge money launderers as we see time and time again but nothing is done about them, hmmm wonder why. Just like the “claytons” banking Royal commission also not much done about that, wonder why! Negative interest rates sure would be a way for the Government to really control our money, spend your money on stuff you don’t need or want or we will charge you to leave it in the bank, hmmm more control!!!

    • 0
      0

      Royal commission was a witch hunt that failed to find anything. I certainly would have gone to jail instead of answering the questions asked as it was so unlawful. There is no way those conducting it would have been able to get away with what they did in a court of law. I was absolutely disgusted by their behaviour.

    • 0
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      “Royal commission was a witch hunt that failed to find anything.”

      Is your head permanently stuck up your arse?

    • 0
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      Or maybe has his head in the sand, obviously never saw the final report or he wouldn’t be making these ridiculous comments.

    • 0
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      The government phrased the terms of the investigation in such a way as to ensure their mates were protected.
      The same will happen to any enquiry into the bush fires. Nut of course the protection wil be for themselves.

    • 0
      0

      Absolutely true exPS, as a former PS and military officer I have seen this scenario played out many times. Any inquiry, be it a small local inquiry or a Royal Commission, is designed to protect those in authority who, by omission or commission, failed to fulfil their responsibilities. Having been involved in a few inquiries, when we briefed senior managers or commanders we were told what we could and could not include in our report. Now I am vey sceptical of any so called inquiries.

    • 0
      0

      Eddy, as an ex military person ad Public Servant I fully concur-. The government never asks a question unless they know what the answer will be. Just look at the insipid, ridiculous questions the government members ask each other in Question Time every day whilst avoiding answering any questions asked by the opposition.

    • 0
      0

      Big Bear observed “There is no way those conducting it would have been able to get away with what they did in a court of law”, but isn’t that the point? Royal commissions are not courts of law and are not bound by the same formalities. They are inquisitions with coercive powers to call and cross examine witnesses and offer indemnities to them, obtain evidence, and have rights of entry and surveillance. They are great platforms for a public display of concern but when the dust settles they are not judicial, they bring down no verdicts and there is no obligation for government to act upon recommendations.

  6. 0
    0

    I don’t see any problems with this, I don’t use much cash but I would hate to see its demise. Paying through the banks protects the buyer by providing a third party record of transactions that wouldnt exist with cash and I would be suspicious of any seller who demanded cash. I can’t imagine too many on the pension having too much problem with this, a bit of a beat up.

    • 0
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      Strongly have to disagree. Since going on the pension, I have actually noticed I spend less, but use cash more. Garage sales are nearly all cash – I find great bargains there, do them up and sell for lovely profits. I buy the freshest eggs from a lady on small 3 acre lot, many fruit and vegetables the same way, often from road side stalls. Was recently up around Tamborine Mountain and got talking to a stall holder – he can’t use an eftpos machine as there is coverage!
      And just look at the trouble when the banks lines go down – cannot purchase with a card. Many people were caught out in the bush-fire disasters because they had no cash on them. Just this morning went to a local store to buy something – a sign up saying ‘Cash Only – lines down’.
      I am much more budget conscious with cash, instead of a card.

    • 0
      0

      SunnyOz by your own admission you are buying and selling in the Black economy.

      2 yrs gaol for you forthwith.

      I hope your reporting your profit to Colonel Klink (cLink) for the reduction in your pension you rogue LOL

    • 0
      0

      “I hope you’re reporting your profit”.

      You’re = you are, your = it’s yours

    • 0
      0

      Selling a few eggs is a hobby and isn’t taxed nor is doing up something to on sell if it’s a hobby.

    • 0
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      Cash is king!

      The only reason this is being brought up is to float the idea so people get used to it. Then they’ll hit us right in the wallet when we’re tired of arguing!

      There is only one guarantee with schemes like this and that is – government will get more and you will get less! No matter how it’s spun, the outcome never alters!

    • 0
      0

      Rae…
      I’ve heard about so-called “hobby selling” but, to the best of my knowledge, there is no such thing as “hobby profits” being, in any way, different to any other commercially derived profit.
      If applicable – profits are liable to taxation.

      Perhaps someone can advise otherwise.

      If, of course, your hobby is confined to selling a few eggs only, it is extremely unlikely that your profits (“hobby” or otherwise) would attract taxation.

    • 0
      0

      SunnyOz, So how many of your garage sale purchases or egg transactions were around the $10,000 mark and affected by this legislation? I have to agree with Mondo. I too would be very suss of anyone demanding payment in folding money for more than $10,000 which is the issue discussed here and is surely the context of his post. The posts here suggesting that many pensioners are rolling around in so much cash give a different picture to the calls for increased pensions. No wonder so many complaints about deeming rates when so much money seems to be stuffed into matresses earning zero.

    • 0
      0

      I agree with you, SunnyOz. I use cash for the same reasons. Paying cash I can keep well within my budget. Also, farmers markets would decide it was too much trouble if they couldn’t take cash. Piddling about with cards etc for customers’ $2 packs of zucchini wouldn’t be worth them having to get up at 4am on market days…and how many fewer coin donations would there be for people collecting for charity?

    • 0
      0

      Nothing new here, just the government making sure their backers in the banking industry continue to make profits from us.
      They get hold of our money , pay little interest, use it to make money for themselves and charge us for the privilege. Now we want to gove them even more control, just wait for the clincher, a service charge for handling amounts over $10, 000.

  7. 0
    0

    The biggest ‘black economy’ is the banks who bankroll things such as child labour industries and huge multinationals that dodge tax payments. Our politicians are exactly the same they have smart accountants who can help them avoid tax at all. The poor Australian pensioner is again in the sights of the Govt. Every day we hear of some new scheme to try and wrest the meagre savings that pensioners hold. It is enough that Centrelink requires pensioners to already tell them how they will spend their money now we will have the banks doing the same. Enough! Time to stop this continual assault on people who have worked all their lives to have options in their later life.

  8. 0
    0

    Another Government scare. “We have to do this to stop the black economy”..
    Yeah, so now the tradies split the kitchen reno into separate amounts. $9000 for the benches etc, and $5000 for appliances. And pay one bill this year, the other next, to avoid suspicion.

    • 0
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      Yes could be but it probably won’t work because most buyers (except obviously pensioners who seem from posts here to be rolling in cash) wouldnt have that much cash hanging around. I am sure that if you tried to pull $10,000 in cash out of a bank branch they wouldn’t have it in stock so you’d need to fill in a form or you soon will.
      I have no idea how much effect this will have on the black economy but the government has to find some money from somewhere to pay for their poor management.

  9. 0
    0

    Hi Rae, stole my thunder and share your views plus increase gst, flat income tax system, no deductions, increase pensions for disadvantaged plus your multi nationals tax. No more ‘rorts’ for pollies.

    • 0
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      Agree with the flat tax rate and no deductions, but an increase in the GST would affect the disadvantaged more than the more well off, if everyone paid a flat tax then maybe there would be enough tax collected to meet all of our needs, there might also be an opportunity to increase pensions and other payments for the most disadvantaged, I recall years ago paying as much as 60% of money I earned when working overtime, to clarify that I mean 60% of money earned over a certain amount.

    • 0
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      Thanks mono. I think the banks are in trouble. They need all the deposits they can hold onto. People are hoarding cash because of no trust anymore.

    • 0
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      Sorry mogo51 spell check doh

  10. 0
    0

    I have bought my last Ferrari, I’m not changing houses again, so I am unlikely to ever again need to pay more than $10,000 in a lump sum, just like most people.

    Pretty much a Ho hum issue for all but a few, of mostly the criminal element. Why are others getting their knickers in a knot, unless it is politically opportune to try to use it as anti the current government.

    • 0
      0

      Anyone who has traveled outside the country knows about that $10’000. Comes in a question on the customs form for years now – although that amount was worth a lot more 10 years ago it was never changed. Still worth something here but in Europe it is now barely Eu6000 and in the US $7000. I pay the old bloke doing my yard his fee in cash, he does not want checques (have not got them anyway) and he certainly does not carry a visa receipt machine. He takes the cash down to the pub for lunch with his missus and a few drinks.

    • 0
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      Where he pays 10% GST on meals and drinks……

    • 0
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      He cannot avoid that and so it should be and we will all be happy, and only some shit stirrers want us to do away with cash.

    • 0
      0

      Correct, panos – ‘black’ money starts to pay tax the first time it is spent and then steadily pays more until it is back in the Treasury…

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