Taxation is imposed through the coercive power of the state. Politicians often speak of “asking” taxpayers to pay more of this or that tax, but in reality they can and do tell citizens what to pay.
It is vital to the functioning of democracy that voters know what their taxes are paying for. Often they don’t, because the information is not readily available to them. This year, for the first time, the federal government will provide a ‘tax receipt’ with each taxpayer’s assessment notice, showing how the individual’s personal income tax payment was spent in 2013/14. This is a step forward, but because it is limited to personal income tax it provides an incomplete coverage of taxation and government expenditure.
Everyone who pays personal income tax also pays a lot in other taxes, while many people pay no personal income tax but still contribute through other taxes. This pamphlet helps to remedy that deficiency by providing a more complete coverage.