WTA Chairman’s Update #6 – July-September 2017

Section: Letter from the Chairman / Members Highlights / WTA Blog
18 July 2017


Dear WTA Members, Observers, and Friends:

Thank-you Benoîte Taffin

One of the great rewards of my involvement with WTA is the many people I’ve had the pleasure to meet and work with over the years. A former mayor of Paris’ 2nd Arrondissement Benoîte Taffin has been an important leader of the movement in France going all the way back to Contribuables Associes’ founding in 1990. She has served as the organization’s president and spokesperson as well as its representative on the WTA board of directors for many years.

Benoîte has recently stepped down from the WTA board and from its executive committee making way for the organization’s current Director General Eudes Baufreton. We welcome Eudes!

Few people light up a room like Benoîte. She has an amazing mix of warmth and kindness combined with firm resolve and determination. I’ve enjoyed our time together at events and socially on both sides of the Atlantic with her and her husband Jean-Pol. We thank Benoîte for her many contributions and wish her the very best!

Regional Taxpayers Forum Bangkok Thailand, December 8-10, 2017

The second WTA-sponsored Regional Taxpayers Forum in 2017 will take place in Bangkok Thailand, December 8-10. The World Taxpayers Associations along with Asia-Pacific Taxpayers Union are pleased to invite Asian and international delegates to join us in an exchange of ideas and best practices to advance the cause of limited and accountable government.

Attached to the event, Atlas Network is going to host the Asia Think Thank Essentials Workshop from December 11–13. This is an excellent opportunity for taxpayer leaders. Anyone who would like to take part in the training should apply here.

Registration and fees:

If you have paid your 2017 Membership Fee to the WTA, there is no cost for you to attend this event. Please e-mail Melanie Harvie at melanie.harvie@worldtaxpayers.org for your discount code. The code is valid for two registrants within your organization up to September 30. After that, an administration fee of 50 USD per person will be charged.

For other individuals, the conference has a fee of 120 USD per person and it includes conference materials, coffee breaks, and lunches.

Please act soon, space is limited! You can register here.


Location & Hotel reservation:

Hotel Rembrandt

19 Sukhumvit Soi 18, Sukhumvit Road, Klong-Toei,

Bangkok 10110, Thailand

Web: http://www.rembrandtbkk.com/rooms/

Promotional code: WTAATLAS

A draft agenda will soon be available on the WTA website. We look forward to welcoming you in Bangkok in December.


Member News:

Momentum 107 Hong Kong: new website

In conjunction with their 10th anniversary, Momentum 107 has unveiled a brand-new website. http://momentum107.hk/

Canadian Taxpayers Federation earns front page of The Wall Street Journal.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has been critical of government spending to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.

“Nothing says Celebrate Canada like a 30,000 pound rubber duck by a foreign artist” said Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Read the full story here.

New Zealand Taxpayers Union: Neoliberalism stopped the rise in inequality

A second major economic study in as many years by two of New Zealand’s leading economic think tanks show that inequality has barely changed in 20 years. The neoliberal reforms of the 1980s have made New Zealand richer whilst not adversely affecting income or consumption inequality – despite the dramatic, and misleading, rise in claims in the media that New Zealand’s inequality is increasing.

Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union said: “Politicians are fueling a false narrative that inequality in New Zealand is growing to justify ‘remedies’ of higher taxes and neo-socialist agendas.  This needs to be nipped in the bud, and this research is a step toward arming voters with the truth.”

Read the full report here.


Taxpayers Association of Ukraine

Over the last year, the Taxpayers Association of Ukraine (TAU) has been drafting a proposed new Tax Code for Ukraine. On June 14th, 2017, Grigol Katamadze, President of TAU, handed the final proposal to the State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Yevgen Kapinus. In the following days, copies of the proposal were distributed to members of the government, parliament and to political parties.

Tax Freedom Day


On June 13th Finland celebrated Tax Freedom Day (TFD). In 1980, TFD was close to the EU average and was celebrated in May. Today, Finland has a tax burden 5 points higher than the EU average, pushing the day further into the year.

You can read the Taxpayers Association of Finland report on tax freedom day here.



In the previous newsletter, WTA was happy to introduce the US-based Tax Foundation and Scott Hodge who kindly offered to spread the concept of Tax Freedom Day by helping taxpayer groups calculate TFD in their respective countries.

As a result, The Nepal Taxpayers’ Welfare Society (NTWS) recently released their Tax Freedom Day report showing TFD on September 19, 66 days into the fiscal year (Nepali Fiscal Year Starts on July 16).

Also, the research shows Nepalese people pay Rs. 421.097 billion in taxes and spend Rs. 329.137 billion on rice grains. This demonstrates citizens are paying more in tax than on their daily meal.

More information about the Tax Freedom Day in Nepal can be found here.

NTWS also has a brand-new website: http://ntws.org.np/.

NTWS’s team in Nepal with president Gobinda Sharma Gairhe on the right.



According to Contribuables Associes, French taxpayers will have to work for the government up to July 24th this year.

Eudes Baufreton states that “France spends way too much, and the burden of public spending translates into a huge tax bill on French taxpayers. Only the reduction of public spending will allow tax cuts, lower public debt and recovery of jobs in France”.

To find out more, click here.

To watch the video of Eudes Baufreton defending the taxpayers on BFM TV, click here.

New Zealand

New Zealand Taxpayers Union released a report approaching the Tax Freedom Day concept from a different angle. The report reveals that the average household pays $1.48 million in tax over a lifetime – equivalent to 15 years of earnings.

Read the Total Lifetime Tax report here.

Gas Tax Campaigns

Swedish Taxpayers’ Association is running a campaign to cut the gas tax and dedicate this revenue to roads maintenance.

Almost two-thirds a tank of gas is taxed in Sweden and since the current government took office in 2014 there have been three increases. But it doesn’t stop there. A new index which came into force in 2017 raises the tax automatically by CPI plus two percentage points. A simple calculation shows that the price will increase by at least 49% during the next 10 years.

Swedish drivers pay about 60 billion in gas and vehicle taxes but only about 25 billion of that gets put back into maintaining and renew the road network.

Read more about the latest report produced by the Swedish taxpayer association here.

A similar campaign has been carried out by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation since 1999.

Currently, the CTF’s campaign focuses on ending the practice of applying VAT to fuel taxes (taxing taxes) and, like Sweden, the CTF wants to see a law dedicating gas and diesel taxes to roads and related infrastructure.

To find out more about the CTF campaign, click here.

Spending Watchdog

In the wake of the 2017 UK general election, much commentary has focused on the impact public spending cuts had on the result. Less attention, however, has been paid to assessing by how much public spending had actually been reduced.

To examine that question, Taxpayers Alliance recently released a report “The End of Austerity?” which found:

  • In 2016-17 public spending was £1.3 billion lower than in it was in 2009-10 (real terms). A fall of 0.2 per cent
  • In 2016-17 spending on welfare for people of working age and children was 3.9 per cent lower than it was in 2009-10 (real terms)
  • In 2016-17 spending on welfare for pensioners was 12.1 per cent higher than it was in 2009-10 (real terms)
  • Two departments experienced real-terms budget increases between 2010-11 and 2015-16: Health and International Development.

Read the full report here.

Socialism for the Rich, New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union latest report tracks the growing costs of government handouts to private businesses – which are now $1.66 billion per year ($931 per household).

The report’s author, Jim Rose, says, “The role of government is to provide essential public goods and social welfare that the market cannot. This government has significantly overreached this role and actively engaged in picking winners and propping up failing businesses.”

Removing corporate welfare would allow for a six percentage point reduction in the company tax rate that would benefit all businesses equally. That way, all Kiwi businesses, and not just the favoured few, would get a boost and be more competitive internationally.

You can read the full report here.


Products to Replicate: a Tool for Evaluating Public Spending

The Lithuanian Free Market Institute produced a methodology for analyzing and benchmarking government expenditure on General Public Services (COFOG 1 under OECD Classification of the Functions of Government). The report provides an assessment of government spending in Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Bulgaria. The results show that although overall government spending on general public services seems to be relatively low, some areas are plagued with inefficiency. Moreover, the analysis of government outcomes based on the World Governance Indicators by the World Bank shows that higher expenditure does not guarantee better results.

You can read the full report here.

Tax Reforms

The US-based Tax Foundation has released a report analyzing the impact of a temporary corporate tax cut on economic growth.

Some federal lawmakers have suggested that temporary (rather than permanent) corporate tax cuts could boost the economy while being more politically saleable. But the numbers tell a different story. In fact, a temporary corporate tax cut would do little to help the economy. Key findings of the report include:

  • A temporary cut to the corporate income tax rate is substantially less effective at generating economic growth than a permanent cut.
  • A ten-year reduction in the U.S. corporate income tax rate to 15 percent would boost investment and growth over the first seven years of the policy, but then reduce growth.
  • The specter of a future tax increase makes investment under a temporary low rate less enticing, especially for long-lived assets.
  • A temporary corporate income tax cut is most likely to result in higher payouts to shareholders of corporations; a permanent corporate income tax cut has a much better chance to result in increased wages as well.

Learn more by reading the full report: http://tax.foundation/2th7j9M

Minimal Government Thinkers Refute Philippine Government’s Tax Proposals

The Philippines government has just proposed significant tax reforms that include:

  • an income tax cut for low-income earners and a tax hike for those with an annual income of $100,000 or higher, from 32% to 35%;
  • excise duties hike for oil products and cars worth over $12,000;
  • tax hike for sugar-sweetened beverages;
  • a broader base for the value-added tax.

As always the justification for such tax hikes is the need to improve public infrastructure and support the welfare system.

Nonoy Oplas, from Minimal Government Thinkers, analyzed the implications of this tax reform noting the philosophy of “demonizing and overtaxing the rich and subsidizing the poor forever” creates a moral hazards problem. The implicit message is aspire to be poor forever, because:

  • your minimum wage income plus bonuses will be tax-free
  • you get lots of freebies and subsidies, and
  • there is no due date: subsidies and transfers will go on forever as they get transferred to your children and grandchildren.

Read the full article here.

New OECD Report: Taxing Wages 2017

Taxing Wages provides unique cross-country comparative data on the amounts of personal income taxes, social security contributions, payroll taxes and cash benefits for eight different family-types.

The 2017 edition reveals that the tax wedge on the income of the average worker decreased slightly, to 36%, in 2016. Also, this latest edition of Taxing Wages contains a special feature examining the impact of tax on the incentives for workers to invest in their skills. For a typical worker undertaking a short course of training, the combined impact of personal income taxes and employee social security contributions reduces the incentive to invest in skills training, lowering the value of a skills investment by 24.9% on average across the OECD.

For the full report, click here.

In closing, I’d like to encourage everyone to please visit our website and our Facebook group. Our community is only as strong and as beneficial as we choose to make it. Please work with our Secretary General Cristina Berechet to feed good content into our network.

Keep up the fight!

Troy Lanigan
Chair, World Taxpayers Associations
President, Canadian Taxpayers Federation


| troy.lanigan@worldtaxpayers.org
Skype | troy_lanigan