A taxing question about living standards

Dunno why tax expert Jo Doolan should have wanted to contrast Ponsonby with Eketahuna. Or Eketahuna with Ponsonby.

It’s a bit like trying to decide if pears are better than apples, or crayfish superior to champagne.

But perhaps that was her point.

Doolan drew the contrast in an article in The Independent on how to plead for benevolence from the Commissioner of Inland, a grasping bugger at the best of times..

Doolan looked at the possibilities under sections 176-177D of the Tax Administration Act 1994, “for those who like to do their own research and have copies of the Tax Act on their bookshelf.”

It seems there are only two sets of circumstances in which the commissioner can waive his duty to screw you for every buck you owe the IRD.

The second category might be more hopeful. This is where the payment of the tax places a natural person taxpayer in serious hardship. While we ponder on how natural some people we know are, let us recap on how you go about seeking financial relief …

Doolan proceeded to point out that, to be eligible for serious hardship, you need to prove you have significant financial difficulties that arise due to your inability to meet minimum living expenses according to normal community standards.

This does not mean you are struggling to meet the lease payments for your Ferrari or have had to reduce going out to dinner to twice a week instead of your usual four. The definition of what represents normal community standards is even more perplexing than the natural person one. Does this mean if you live in Ponsonby your community standards are higher than those who live in Eketahuna?

An indignant Alf has the answer: no bloody way.

He has no urge to be able to ponce into the Ponsonby Club at the end of a hard day’s toil on behalf of constituents. The Eketahuna Club is just fine.

Moreover, he draws attention to the recent UMR Research Ltd survey which found almost all rural folk are happy where they live, but one in three central city dwellers would like to live somewhere else.

It found the most popular place to live for those who are not happy where they are living is a rural area.

No, Eketahuna isn’t strictly rural. It’s a rural town. But it’s close enough for the purposes of this post.

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