Shared over 100,000 times, a Facebook post complaining about council tax has been widely seen.

The post contains numerous errors relating to tax, including the number of people being taxed, government tax and spending policies and total tax receipts.

In short

65 million people are not paying tax every day: There are about 30m income taxpayers. 65m is a population estimate.

‘£65m a day collected in tax’: Tax receipts in 2018/19 are expected to be around £769bn.

Where is our money going?: The major budget items are for social protection, health, education, defence and debt interest.

“ARE YOU NOT SEEING THIS ?????”

The tax base

That’s 65 million people EVERYDAY being taxed.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK population estimate in 2016 was 65.6m people. This is plainly not the same as the tax base, as children do not typically pay income or council tax.

HM Revenue & Customs estimates there are about 30m income tax payers (in 2017/18). Council tax is paid by households.

Tax Receipts and Spending

If 65 million people are paying tax everyday, and we round it off for simplicities sake say we all pay £1 a day that’s 65 MILLION A DAY!!!!!!!!

If the government received £65m a day in tax, it would receive £23.7bn each year. This is much less than the UK government's tax receipts, expected to be about £769bn in 2018/19.

Where the [f***] is it going ????

The major areas of government spending are social protection (£252bn), health (£155bn), education (£102bn), defence (£49bn) and national debt interest (£41bn).

These figures are expected 2018/19 values from the Autumn 2017 budget.

Other errors

The standard Valued Added Tax rate remains at 20%: it has been at the same rate since January 2011.

Vehicle excise duty was changed in April 2017, and is now dependent on the vehicle’s CO2 emissions.

NHS England spending is rising, but the health service faces severe financial pressures.

This blog looks at the use of statistics in Britain and beyond. It is written by RSS Statistical Ambassador and Chartered Statistician @anthonybmasters.

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