In June Inland Revenue announced that a grand total of 450,000 KiwiSaver members were in the wrong tax bracket and therefor not paying enough tax.
Mr Neat was one of those that received a letter advising him to go into his bank and check. He did and — yep you guessed it he got a tax bill — and he has to pay it.
Now we find out that nearly 1000,000 of us are paying too much tax and guess what? According to a TV One news story this week there's no way for Inland Revenue to pay it back.
How does that work?
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IRD cannot have it both ways. They can't collect debt without paying debt. That's not how our society works.
I'm a huge fan of KiwiSaver. I wish it had been around when I first started work. It's a fantastic way to save and I'm guessing that in the future it will be compulsory and may well be a retirement fund.
So although I think it's a great scheme I don't, like so many people out there, know anything about how it works. I know the basics of course. I contribute to the fund from my wages, my employer contributes, the Government throw in $521.43 once a year on the proviso that you contributed at least $1042.86 annually.
Then my funds are invested and hopefully they make a profit. I've watched my balance go up over the years and I've also seen it go down.
That's about all I know. To be honest I don't even where my money is invested. I know I chose medium risk.
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I also have no idea what fees I pay or what tax I'm on.
I don't recall ever being asked to chose a tax bracket when I signed up.
I bet there are thousands of people just like me out there. Every now and then a big envelope arrives in the mail with all kinds of figures about my KiwiSaver. I glance at it, go cross-eyed, put it down to read later. It's then moved to a drawer where it lays until it's time for a clear out.
Not ideal but you see I trust that the people that know about these things will do the right thing by me. After all it is a Government scheme and surely the Government wouldn't rip off hard-working Kiwis.
Perhaps I'm being far too naive and should take control. I'll ring my provider and ask if they can help me.
Then what? If I find out I'm one of the people who has been paying too much tax how do I get it back? If IRD can't find a way to pay the money back what hope do I have. Absolutely none.
It's no wonder the Government have got such a huge surplus at the moment.
Apparently Revenue Minister Stuart Nash is looking into the issue. Good. Let's see some action. Inland Revenue expect us to pay our taxes on time — they need to play by their own rules.
Footnote: I have a brand new garden accessory. It sits right at the front of the property just before the hydrangeas. Not sure who was kind enough to leave it there but I really don't like it one bit. It doesn't really match the house and reminds me of food. Yes you guessed it — it's a shopping trolley. I thought these things were expensive to replace but after two calls to the supermarket it still sits there. Someone suggested I have some fun with it. "Take Mr Neat for a ride." Now there's an idea.
*Linda Hall is assistant editor of Hawke's Bay Today.