The Little Golden Book of Payroll Tax

3 minute read

You can tax all sorts of things, like windows and beards and cigarettes and now doctors.

Hello everyone.

Today we’re going to talk about tax.

What exactly is tax?

You may have overheard grownups talking about it. For example, you might have heard your mum say: “We have to pay tax because we want good schools and somebody needs to sweep the streets and empty the bins.”

And when you ask your dad about tax you might hear him mutter “dirty thieving bastards” under his breath. 

But whatever you’ve heard about tax it probably isn’t true, because it’s been made deliberately complicated by people with way too much time on their hands.

So let’s start at the beginning.

Tax was invented a long time ago by the ancient Greeks and stands for Taxamelioptergyon. For some reason the Greeks were really good at giving long names to things, and turning rocks into boobs.  

“Today I’m going to carve a pair of tits out of that rock.”

Over the centuries though many things have been taxed. Peter the Great introduced a beard tax to encourage Russians to look more “Western” and the French came up with the clam tax.

If the Medieval French enjoyed anything it was eating clams and rioting, so it won’t come as a surprise to learn that the clam-tax caused riots to erupt all over France. In fact we still use the expression “clam jousting” today, although it means something a bit different now. 

Over the years clever governments got fed up with picking bits of clam shell out of their heavily taxed beards so they devised more subtle taxation. Take for example the window tax introduced in to British law in the 1690s, where people had to pay tax according to how many windows they had. But there’s a really simple way to get round this law … I’ll give you a moment to think about it.

That’s right, just get rid of all your windows!

Back in the 1690s living in an unventilated basement with no natural sunlight was a lot better than paying extortionate property tax. Sydneysiders do a similar thing today.

Nowadays, because we live in a democracy, all human beings, except Jeff Bezos, have to pay tax. Doctors are humans, and they’re not Jeff Bezos, which means they also have to pay tax.

But now doctors might have to pay a lot more into the government coffers because of something called payroll tax.

How it works is … nah, life’s too short. Basically it means that a lot of practices may have to close down because they’ll owe the government a lot of money.

But that’s not fair, you might say. Where’s my mummy going to get her medication from? And where will I go if I get tonsillitis?

Well, the government doesn’t give a shit about your tonsils, or your mummy. It just wants your cash.

And that’s all you really need to know about tax.

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