suddenly the business section of the newspaper, which i rarely read, jumped out at me. a headline caught my eye, proclaiming, in bold letters, “pensioners still paying billions to the taxman.” it was, of course, written from the perspective of saving on tax.
no one likes paying tax, though i don’t begrudge the NHS a single penny. (in fact, i would pay more tax if i knew my money were going directly to fund this amazing health service.)
however, i read the headline with amazement. there is so much negative press about olders being a drain on the economy and not contributing to it, or to society in general, at all. my first thought, on noticing the bold headline, was “hooray!!”
paying tax implies that an older might still be working. she might have investments that pay handsome dividends and she contributes her share of tax. it might mean that he has extensive property and is wealthy enough to pay his fair share…well, it’s possible he pays less than his ‘fair’ share. it might mean that she is self-employed, at last doing what she loves. and she's earning enough to be taxed.
it means that olders who are still paying tax are actually contributing to the common good. according to the article in 2015-2016 (the last year for which detailed figures are available) there were 6.49 million taxpayers aged over 65. “among the 6.49 million, the average annual tax bill was £3,522.” while that might not fund the entire budget, now in the trillions, it does contribute a share larger than most people believe.
with that much of our money flowing into the exchequer, we can, on yet another level, stop regarding ourselves as a burden. not only do we contribute money, our wisdom and experience is also a significant contribution to the well-being of the country. we hold so much talent, knowledge, and understanding. we are a resource not to be wasted.
it only remains for each of us to recognise, and then act on the recognition, that our riches are beyond compare and, actually, beyond price.
no matter what the taxman says!
(the i,9 july, 2018)