Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How generous are New Zealanders?

Apparently, based on tax files;

Americans gave 1.60 percent of their aggregate personal income to charity, more than double the 0.73 percent that Canadians donated to charity.

This tweaked my interest. Canada has a bigger public sector than the US and my assumption is that where government does more, taxpayers give less to private charity.

So how would NZ compare on this basis?

It is estimated that NZ individuals, as reported on tax returns, give $356 million annually (c 2004).

In 2004 there were approximately 1.494 million households with an average income of $63,384.

So New Zealanders give an average of 0.38 percent of their aggregate income.

On this basis (tax receipts kept) in 2004 our household gave approximately 0.5 to charity but with economic uncertainty I have cut back to around 0.43 percent.

I am now feeling rather stingy.

(Notwithstanding there are lots of ways people express generosity beyond giving cash.)

14 comments:

Gekko said...

"It is estimated that NZ individuals, as reported on tax returns, give $356 million annually (c 2004)."

It would appear then that many 'NZ individuals' prefer to get other 'NZ individuals' to pay for their good causes through voting for higher taxes.

JC said...

American private giving dwarfs the rest of the world, but its either Denmark or Norway whose Govts donate the most on behalf of the citizens.

I like the US system better.

JC

Anonymous said...

I think it is important to separate domestic from overseas 'giving' which I doubt your figures do. A responsible society should look after its own so that charity is not needed except for limited saying thankyou for special services [tipping]. Sadly we do not live in a truely responsible society. It could be interesting to compare individual giving with government giving to illustrate JC's theme. jcuknz

Peter said...

This is an example of how social democratic systems actually undermine the community values and sense of responsibility toward one's fellow man which socialists claim to cherish.
Those values get undermined because we think we can get the government to do it on our behalf for "free" (because we think mostly the rich will be paying for it, who ought to be more generous anyway).
So the result is we hand over our responsibility for our neighbour to the state. The state does it for us instead. At best it does a mediocre job. It's actually lazy and cowardly behaviour on our part, because we want to be "caring" at no cost or risk to ourselves.

Peter said...

A responsible society should look after its own so that charity is not needed.

I think we are hard-wired to think this way because our prehistoric ancestors lived in small groups who depended on each other and did take care of their own. So most of us have this ideal. Unfortunately it doesn't scale well. What works for small groups of hunter-gatherers who all have close ties doesn't necessarily work in a modern state made of millions of people with little or nothing in common.

JC said...

"What works for small groups of hunter-gatherers who all have close ties doesn't necessarily work in a modern state made of millions of people with little or nothing in common."

I'm not so sure. "Empathy" works fine to get people to cough up for individuals and groups who need it. It takes a Govt to give money to a dictator and his cohorts.

JC

Anonymous said...

Take away the tax breaks for charitable donations and lets see how generous people realy are.

Dirk

Anonymous said...

Take away the tax breaks for charitable donations and lets see how generous people realy are.

Crap. Take away NZ's ruiniously high tax rates (38 + 1.7 (ACC) + 12.5 (GST) = 52.5%

third highest in the world after Sweden and Hungary - and then you'll see how generous Kiwis are.

Or, rather - NZers are more generous than anyone except Hungarians when you add in GST and charitable giving.


Zero all benefits incl super. Zero marginal tax rate for income over 100K. And almost every problem that NZ has now would be solved overnight. (Arming the police in a proper legal context solves the rest)

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that the tax figures were an accurate source in 2004. Because the amount able to be claimed for charitable donations was capped at about $1500 the figures were artificially reduced (people just didn't include the additional giving). As the claim limit has now increased, recent tax numbers may show a much higher figure.

Lindsay said...

Last anon, As the figure was an estimate only I thought this may have been accounted for.

Shane Pleasance said...

Peter at 102 - My thoughts and experience precisely. Well said sir.

KG said...

I gave at the office--via a crippling tax burden.

Peter said...

Peter at 102 - My thoughts and experience precisely. Well said sir.

Thanks Shane :-)

MacDoctor said...

A late comment, Lindsay (catching up on blog reading!)

Many people give to charitable causes that are not tax deductible (so Anon 5:28 is very much wrong). This is particularly true of wealthier people who often support people such as missionaries overseas (One person I know supports a whole village!)