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We need to talk about why we pay taxes

Tax and Fairness – a new BWB Text by Deborah Russell & Terry Baucher

We need to talk about why we pay taxes – Deborah Russell and Terry Baucher

Tax policy can be dry and technical, yet it also cuts to the heart of whether New Zealand can be considered an egalitarian country. In this new instalment from the BWB Texts series, tax experts Deborah Russell and Terry Baucher provide an accessible and lively primer to understanding and debating tax.

The world has changed a lot in the last thirty years, Tax and Fairness explains, but New Zealand’s tax system hasn’t. Since the 1980s New Zealand’s taxation policy has remained the same, despite substantial economic and social changes. The system may be familiar, but is it fair?

To answer this question, the authors explore thorny questions. Should multinational corporations pay more tax? Why do we have secondary tax? Is it fair to tax money earned from a bank deposit, but not from capital gains on a house? And does our tax system treat all generations equally?

In the wake of the Panama Papers and amid New Zealand’s housing crisis, these questions are more urgent than ever. Rather than imposing a firm conclusion upon the reader, Tax and Fairness equips people with the ability to decide for themselves.

About the authors

Deborah Russell is a political theorist and a former lecturer in taxation at Massey University. She has written articles on taxation for the Dominion Post, the New Zealand Herald, and The Spinoff, as well as appearing on TV and radio. She is standing as a candidate for the Labour Party in New Lynn in 2017. Drawing on her years of expertise as a financial academic, this book is not associated with her political future but rather her long-standing commitment to enhancing public understanding of this crucial topic.

Terry Baucher is the director of his Auckland based tax consultancy firm Baucher Consulting Limited. He has worked as a tax specialist in New Zealand since 1993, after nine years’ practice in England. He writes a regular column on current tax issues and is a frequent commentator on tax in the media, including Radio New Zealand and the New Zealand Herald.


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