Just how much to you have to earn to buy something, and how much of the cost goes in tax?
There are so many bites at the cherry, from income tax to national insurance, fuel tax, alcohol duty and VAT that you are never going to get round to working it out.
Fortunately this new free app from the Taxpayers’ Alliance, TPA Tax Buster does all the work for you.
Personalise the app with your annual income and age and Tax Buster will give you two figures: the amount you need to earn before tax to afford the item and what the item costs without VAT and, in the case of air tickets, without green taxes and other such nonsense. It’s guaranteed to make your hair stand on end, that is if you have any left.
So what did my latest unlocked 32GB iPhone 4S actually cost. Instead of £599 it would have been only £499 without sales tax (VAT). But it gets worse. I had to earn £1,186 in order to buy the phone and 58% of this disappeared in tax.
It’s worse with alcohol, of course. To buy a £20 70cl bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label whisky I have to earn £40. And 76% of this total goes on tax (without VAT and duties the whisky would have cost £9.52).
(As you will have realised from all the £ signs, this app is of use only in the UK. However, readers in the US could use it to see how much better off, in reality, they are than the toilers of the European Union).