Taxes

A percentage of your money goes into the public purse in taxation to pay for public spending such as pensions, social services, healthcare, education, infrastructure and the armed forces . Everyone in the UK is a taxpayer – even if you don’t pay income tax, you pay VAT, a tax of twenty percent on the majority of items you can buy.

Most people also pay income tax. It is taken from employees’ wages before you see them (this is the case in the UK; many other countries raise income tax differently). Self-employed people are responsible for completing a tax return and arranging payment of the tax they owe.

Tax justice has become a big issue in recent years, with many people calling for an end to tax avoidance by large corporations and wealthy individuals as a key part of tax justice. As you are a taxpayer, you are as entitled as anyone to lobby the government over the way it spends your money and on how it treats tax avoidance and evasion.

A small number of self-employed people have chosen to withhold part of their tax in protest over how it is spent. This is usually based on an objection to expenditure on war and preparations for war. Some of these individuals have had their goods seized or been imprisoned, although others have paid up after withholding payment for a while to make a point. This action is not of course open to people whose income tax is taken directly from their wages.