#246 – Tax Refunds

29 09 2011

It has happened since the dawn of time. In 1854. Taxation issues caused ancestral bogans to attack police in an unsuccessful revolt on the Victorian goldfields. The tax paid on discovered gold was deemed by the miners to be excessive, and they wanted it back. They wanted a tax refund. They did not get a tax refund. The subsequent 16 decades have, in a large part, been dedicated to the bogan getting square.

In modern Australia, income tax is deducted from a worker’s salary at a rate that, all other things being equal, should result in the person neither underpaying or overpaying tax throughout the year. This system entitles the bogan to bark about the perpetual and limitless misuse of its taxpayer dollars. This very nearly makes sense, so it is not meaningful to the bogan.

While British colonists in North America 350 years ago lobbied for political change (and led to the American Revolution) with the slogan “no taxation without representation”, the bogan, being the ambitious parasite it is, has higher aims. While the bogan will reluctantly have tax deducted from its monthly salary, it agrees solely on the condition that all of this money, and more, is returned to it at the end of the financial year. Also, it wants infinitely maxtreme levels of political clout at all times. “No taxation, yes representation”.

A recent survey reported that 89% of people expected to receive a tax refund from the 2010-11 financial year. From this, we can deduce that at least 11% of Australians are not bogans. The remainder comprises people who genuinely warrant refunds, people who have successfully defrauded a pathway to a refund, and a large horde of bogans who are smirking on borrowed time. In the weeks and months after June 30, Australia’s towns and cities rattle from the shrill cry of bogans opening their ATO envelopes. Birds flap from their perches on sandstone cathedrals. “Where’s the refuuuuund?!?”, complaineth the bogan, upon receiving a cheque for a mere $400 to offset unspecified and highly dubious expenses. The bogan knows that it paid thousands in tax over the year, and continues to ponder this injustice as it drives down the smooth, four lane road to chemist. A script for PBS-subsidised Ritalin is collected for little Thailaar, who is on her third warning at a private school mostly funded by the government.

An angry phone call to the creative accountant later that day involves a slew of incompatible accusations about the accountant’s level of ability, coupled with a demand that the tax return be filed again, getting it “right this time”. Because the bogan is acutely aware of its Bill of Rights, it therefore knows what is right, and that it has a right not to pay bills. Conceding that bogans (particularly those in marginal electorates) are indeed right, parties on both sides of the political fence are profoundly reluctant to reduce any tax deductibility loopholes frequently used by bogans. Furthermore, new ways to offset income tax miraculously appear near election time, confirming that, Eureka! – the bogan is right.