I am guessing it must be tax time in The United States as this is the topic of this week’s TMI. Not a particularly sexy topic but them’s the breaks.
I would encourage you to have a look at some of the other contributions this week as I am sure that they will be much more interesting than mine!
1. Are taxes levied where you live?
Absolutely. Australia has one of the highest levels of taxation in the world. The average Australian pays about 30% of their income directly as tax as well as a large range of other indirect taxes including Goods and Services Tax which is 10% of the price of all non-essential foods and services retailed here. So it would not be unreasonable to estimate that between 40 and 50% of our income is paid out in some form of tax.
For this astronomical amount of money we are privileged to have fully publicly funded health and education systems and a social welfare system that is more extensive than many other first world countries. No doubt much of our hard earned money gets wasted on beaurocracy but “such is life”
2. Do you pay your taxes?
Income tax in Australia is deducted directly from most people’s income by their employer before it is paid to them so a regular person who works for a company is generally unable to avoid paying that portion of their tax. Goods and Services tax is levied at the checkout and so again is unavoidable.
Of course there are ways to avoid paying income tax especially if you are self employed or a portion of your income is raised from investments but these are usually the domain of more wealthy people such as Kerry Packer
3. This year will you owe taxes or do you expect a refund?
Sadly I will not be receiving a refund. Most employers are careful only to deduct the necessary amount of tax required. In addition our family investments mean that I usually owe the Australian Taxation Office a certain amount of money.
4. Have you already filed your taxes?
Our financial / taxation year ends on 30 June. So we don’t have to lodge our tax return for a few months yet.
5. You are getting a tax refund, which ONE of these would you most likely do with the money?
a. pay off credit cards
b. contribute to retirement savings
c. go on vacation
d. shop for something (car, clothes, household items, etc)
As a rule we don’t plan for windfalls like tax returns and so any money that come from such things just gets put into the general slush fund. I guess you could call it saving for retirement.
6. Sometimes you just need to be frivolous, and if you get a windfall from a tax refund, which of ONE of these things would you most likely do? Why?
a. have a big party
b. loan it to family or a friend
c. spend a weekend at an adults-only erotic resort
d. gamble (Lottery tickets, casino)
Of course spend it at an adults – only erotic resort. It is an experience that I have yet to have but it is definitely on my fucket list.
Bonus: If you could be a circus performer, which act would you be? (I know, soooo random!)
You are right, very random. I guess given my real life past time of pole dancing I would be some kind of acrobatic performer maybe flying trapeze. On the other hand I think and elephant trainer would also be a pretty cool thing to be.
1. My favorite travel companion is _______
Mr Jones. In fact until I met him I have never really travelled anywhere much. My family never really went anywhere on holidays when I was a child. Mr Jones however has been a lot of places and so it is one habit I am glad I caught from him.
2. I pass time on a plane by ______
Reading mainly or doing crossword puzzles.
3. My favorite part of my travel routine is ______
The part where you finally set out. Usually the week or so before leaving is incredibly busy and stressful to the point where I have had moments of considering sending everyone on holiday without me so that I can stay home and have a good rest! But once we are all on the road the excitement of the journey takes over.
4. When you travel with a companion who is the primary planner for the trip itinerary? Who is the primary planner for the days during your trip/holiday?
Usually all the planning for our holidays is a bit of a joint effort. Although all booking and detailed organising of tours and accommodation is usually my responsibility.
5. In 2014, how many times did you travel for leisure? For business?
Our family has a long history of travelling together, mostly to destinations within Australia. We caravan and camp quite frequently. During 2014 we went on several weekend camping trips to the beach and the mountains. We also went on three longer trips. The first one was a New Year’s Eve cruise to Vanuatu and Fiji.
The second trip was a caravanning expedition to Undara Volcanic Park in inland North Queensland.
Our third major trip was another cruise to Papua New Guinea which was an amazing experience for all of us. It is definitely a place I would like to visit again sometime.
6. In 2014, how many times did you travel more than 100 miles from home? How many times did you travel out of your county/state/region but remained in the same country?
Australia is a big place and often you have to go quite a long way to go anywhere. Travelling to Undara took us a total of three days of driving. We did stop at some places along the way to break up the journey but it was definitely more than 100 miles.
7. In 2014, How many times did your travels take you out of your country? Where did you go?
See the answer to question 5.
8. Do you use a travel agent? Why or why not?
Not usually. I booked our cruises on line because it is a relatively simple process. We organise our Australian travels ourselves. It is local travelling and not really a difficult thing to organise. Also most of the time we only have a general destination and kind of make things up as we go along.
If we were to plan a more extensive overseas trip I would definitely use a travel agent or tour company because I don’t have very much experience of overseas travel.
9. For the holiday season, do you prefer to travel/go away or do you prefer to stay home and have friends/family visit you?
My family is quite dispersed. We live about 500km away from my parents and about 700km away from my brother. Last year we made the trek to visit my parents and brother but this year we are staying quietly at home. If anyone in my family has a burning desire to see me on Christmas Day, well they know where I live.
Bonus: Which all-expenses-paid travel destination listed below works best with your interests and why?
a. Walt Disney World
b. Tigh-na-mara Seaside Spa Resort A nature lover’s wonderland–hiking, biking, kayaking, wildlife viewing, beachcombing, and health farm amenities.
c. Macau, China The top gambling destination in the world, experience gambling and casino life excess on an unprecedented level
For me it is a toss up between a and b. I always wanted to take my children to Disneyland which is slightly different from Disney World.
Mr Jones and I are very much into the great outdoors, in particular outdoor sexy photos and sexy fun and so Tigh-na-mara sounds right up our alley. A place closer to home that we have both dreamed about visiting is Hinchenbrook Island. Because it is full of rainforest and lots of semi private places to do what comes naturally.
As always you can seek out more TMI goodness at the TMI Tuesday page.