FOR every rand taken by government in 1994‚ R2.62 was kept by the people, the Free Market Foundation (FMF) says, whereas today, "the people keep only R1.54 for every rand government takes".

The FMF released the statistic to accompany its announcement that "tax freedom day for 2016" would be five days later than last year. May 25‚ the think tank said‚ "is the day on which average South African income-earners at last start working for themselves".

"Over one-third of their working year — the 145 days from January 1 to May 25 — will be spent working to pay their total taxes for the calendar year — i.e. to pay the costs of government‚" it explained.

"There has been a trend toward taking more of the GDP (gross domestic product) in taxes every year‚" it said‚ citing central government revenues for 2016 "to be 30.2% of GDP".

"The government is taking more than an extra 1.8 days of national production every year," the FMF said. "In 1994‚ Tax Freedom Day was April 12 — 43 days earlier. Government takes more than six weeks of extra work to pay for its expenditure than it did 22 years ago."

The FMF also said the taxpayer in SA "is not well represented as there are close to four voters for every income tax payer".

It also took aim at the bloated public service wage bill: "Today‚ government salaries alone consume more of our work than the entire state budget did in 1994 … government is larger and more powerful than it needs to be to fulfil its functions."

TMG Digital