from my professional reading at work (and it's no doubt been in the news as well), i see the IRD is doing work on income-splitting. yeah, it's late ok, and i'm too tired to look for the links.
just in case you haven't heard about this particular policy, it's where a couple get to split their total income between the two partners, thereby reducing their tax rates. it works well when one partner is on a high income, and the other is on a low income. so if one partner earns $80,000 they would be on a tax rate of 38% for income over $70,000. if the other partner earns only $20,000, total family income of $100,000 would be split to $50,000 each, thereby avoiding the top tax rate, and in fact having more of that income taxed at lower rates.
it's been a united (future) policy for years, and the new government has decided to investigate further with a view to implementing. interestingly enough, business nz doesn't support this policy.
i have lots of objections to it, but the one i want to raise here is that the policy discriminates against sole-parents. why should parents who are in a relationship get an extra tax break that sole-parents don't qualify for? especially when we know that sole-parents face greater poverty levels than those in relationships.
i'm thinking there may be a human rights claim here, much in the way that the child poverty action group took a case on the in-work payment being discriminatory to children of beneficiaries. what do others think?