Could you tell us exactly how much of your day is spent earning tax?

Chances are you don’t pay your tax deduction much regard until June every year and why should you? As long as you’ve paid it you’ve done your job, right?

Well the folks at Code for South Africa weren’t content with that and wanted to see just how much time they spend working off their tax obligations. The team set to work and the result of their its labour is, the Tax Clock.

The premise is very simple, you key in your annual salary (before tax but after company deductions such as medical aid, cellphone allowance and the like) and the clock will give you an idea of how much of your day is being used to fill the governments coffers.

The coffers in question belong to the following sectors:

  • National debt
  • Basic education
  • Local government and housing
  • Health
  • Social grants
  • Police services
  • Economic infrastructure
  • General public services
  • Employment and labour affairs
  • Higher education and training
  • Defence and state security
  • Law courts and prisons
  • Trade and industry
  • Agriculture, rural development & land reform
  • Science and Technology and environment
  • Unallocated reserves

Right so how is this time split

To find out we looked at the average salary of a software developer in Johannesburg which is R233 834 according to Payscale.

So if you earn roundabout that figure this is how much of your day is spent working for those sectors.

Sector Time
National debt 12 minutes
Basic education 18 minutes
Local government and housing 15 minutes
Health 13 minutes
Social grants 13 minutes
Police services 7 minutes
Economic infrastructure 7 minutes
General public services 6 minutes
Employment and labour affairs 6 minutes
Higher education and training 5 minutes
Defence and state security 4 minutes
Law courts and prisons 3 minutes
Trade and industry 3 minutes
Agriculture, rural development & land reform 2 minutes
Science and Technology and environment 2 minutes
Unallocated reserves 28 seconds

What this means is that if you get into the office at 9am you’ll only start working to earn yourself money at around 10:57am. That’s nearly two hours spent working off your tax responsibilities, every single day.

In total that means that in a five day work week you spend at least one day (and one and three quarter hours of the next day) working to pay tax.

Of course this is just one example and all times will vary depending on your annual salary.

A bit of fun or harsh reality check? Either way, next time your boss catches you slacking off you could say that you’re using your tax time to better the nation.

Not that we encourage, or have plans to do that.

[Image – CC BY/2.0 Simon Cunningham]