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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:42 pm 
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Ok so the Government are going to give us all $900 to help stimulate the economy. I don't have a problem with this.

Except that they are not going to give everyone $900. That kinda makes sense. Obviously there should be some sort of requirements and prerequisites.

Australian Tax Bonus. If you paid tax in the financial year of 2007-2008 and earned under $100 000 you will get the full $900. If you earned more than $100 000 then you get only a percentage of the payment. Well ok, What if you were working but didn't earn enough to pay tax? You still had to make a tax claim. Guess what? You get nothing.

So the people who have no money get no money.

Training and learning Bonus. If you are receiving government assistance to study on March 3rd 2009 you will get the full $950. Ok what if you're studying on the 3rd March 2009 but aren't receiving government assistance. You also get nothing.

So the people who aren't receiving financial assistance get no financial assistance.

Also you may have noticed that there are two different times which decide who gets what.
So if you were studying through 2007-2008 financial year and are now working full time, You will get Nothing!

I wonder if you were working full time through '07-'08 and are studying now if you would get both payments.

Something about this whole process seems thoroughly screwy to me.

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:40 pm 
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Sounds like Australian rules cricket.

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 Post Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:43 am 
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Bethca if you look hard enough you find that no one gets anything (but it's somehow not really the government's fault...it's all the opposition!)

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 Post Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:47 am 
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Steave wrote:
So the people who aren't receiving financial assistance get no financial assistance.

This makes sense. The people who are receiving financial assistance have already demonstrated they need it. The people who are not receiving it have either already demonstrated they don't need it, or chosen not to divulge their financial information to the appropriate authorities for making that determination. Either way, they shouldn't get assistance, because they have either chosen not to, or don't need it.

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 Post Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:03 am 
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For all intents and purposes your statement is correct.

The practice of financial assistance for study purposes is in my opinion flawed. If however the process which decided who was eligible to receive financial assistance worked properly then yes, your statement would be correct.
There are however people who are studying and receiving no financial assistance who are worse off than those who are.
It's a falls through the cracks system which has some very large cracks.

However let us assume for now that the people who decided to base the payment on people already receiving payment, believe that the system in place actually works. Is someone who is studying but receiving no financial assistance and working part time, though not enough to need to pay tax, somehow less deserving of this bonus payment than someone who is working full time or someone who is studying and receiving financial assistance?

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 Post Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:09 am 
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You aren't asking the right question. The government doesn't care about who deserves the payment. They care about who needs the payment and can readily be determined to need the payment, without a large amount of additional administrative expense.

Also, I deliberately chose not to respond to your comments about the tax bonus, since I agree with your analysis of that end of the spectrum.

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 Post Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:13 am 
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Grillick wrote:
The government doesn't care about who deserves the payment.

While I agree with this statement
Grillick wrote:
They care about who needs the payment
I don't, in my current mood, agree with this one.

I am however in a particularly cantankerous mood for a Friday.

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 Post Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:14 am 
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That last bit wasn't my statement. It was only a fragment of it.

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 Post Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:16 am 
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Steave wrote:
Something about this whole process seems thoroughly screwy to me.


Do remember that there was the other big stimulus package in December. That was actually aimed towards non-workers (ie disability pension, carers, pensioners, etc). I think the idea with this particular stimulus is to try and get money to people who may not have got anything in the last stimulus.


Steave wrote:
I wonder if you were working full time through '07-'08 and are studying now if you would get both payments.


I believe you do - the stimulus payments aren't mutually exclusive. Hence why people on the Family Tax Benefit are getting cash per child, as well as the tax credit.

Gummint be spending up big time this year...

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 Post Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:39 am 
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I'm sort of in a similar situation, except I fall into an administrative black hole between two countries' tax regimes. As an American citizen living abroad, I am required to file both Hong Kong and American taxes. I'm an "employee" of a non-profit, which in order to keep their overheads low, treats me as a self-employed contractor. Although my duties are much like those of a regular employee, they pay me per project and I get no benefits. Under Hong Kong law, as a technically self-employed person, I am legally required to operate a sole proprietorship small business. That's more paperwork, standing in line, business registration fees, and having a separate business bank account.

I am therefore required to file for "profits tax" instead of "salaries tax". If I were a salaried employee and making what I make (peanuts), I would not be required to pay any tax at all. But since I am a Small Business, anything that I can't write off as an operating expense (the cost of living indoors and eating meals does not count), is taxed as "profits" at about 16%. Which isn't that bad objectively, but not compared to zero.

Now this is where the US taxes come in. For the last few years, I've fudged the forms and filled them in as if I were a salaried employee so that I could use the 1040 EZ form and not have my head explode. There's basically a big fat $80,000 exemption for Americans working abroad - you earn less than that (and I make a small fraction of it), you pay nothing.

Well, last year, I also did some freelance work for a different organization than my usual employer, so I gritted my teeth and filed that thousand odd dollars as self-employment income as an experiment in masochism. Just to see how hard it would be. It took 2 extra forms, with flow charts! And here's the kicker - I found out that self-employment income isn't exempt if it's foreign. Work as a salaried employee in a foreign country for under $80,000, you pay nothing. Operate a small business in a foreign country, and you've got to pay 15% in social security self employment tax. So 15% of a thousand dollars is about 150 bucks, so I took half my economic stimulus rebate cheque from last year and mailed it back to Uncle Sam. I'm glad I didn't spend it at the time. (You want your stimulus, here's your stinking stimulus!)

So, to recap. If I were a salaried employee, I would pay nothing, to both countries. But since I am technically self-employed, if I had filed my US taxes by the book, I would've been taxed at a combined 31% (minus what operating expenses I can claim). I make only US$12,000 a year. That's lower-middle class here, and poverty line in the US. It's nuts.

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 Post Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:04 am 
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kirby1024 wrote:
Steave wrote:
I wonder if you were working full time through '07-'08 and are studying now if you would get both payments.


I believe you do - the stimulus payments aren't mutually exclusive.
Actually I though these two were supposed to be. The logic being that either you are working or you are in training/studying to then work. Of course this doesn't help those who are working part time to study. (studying part time instead of full time makes you ineligible for financial assistance)

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