I just paid 55% tax on my first Danish pay check. Which means I am finally a fully contributing resident of Denmark. Well done me for making an extra ordinary contribution to my new ‘home for now’ land.
So if you’re currently completing your tax return in New Zealand and complaining about how much you have to pay, then stop it. Instead think of me. Poor me. 55%.
For those who aren’t great at maths, that is OVER HALF MY WAGES PAID IN TAX.
However as a fully-fledged Danish taxpayer & resident (courtesy of a Family Reunification Visa) I do get a lot for ‘free’ in Denmark. Things that are ‘free’ in Denmark include:
- Education is free right up to (& including) University.
- Healthcare is free, including all visits to the GP (Doctors) with subsidies for Physiotherapy and other similar services.
- Language classes are free to new arrivals (i.e. me) for up to 5 years. I will begin language school in August.
Things that are not free but are extremely affordable:
- Childcare. What you pay in Denmark for childcare for a month is equivalent to about one week of childcare in New Zealand. Which makes going back to work when BBB turns one not only a feasible option but also what 95%* of the population does.
And this is why people pay a lot of tax in Denmark. It also possibly explains why the systems and process in Denmark are (from what I can see so far) extremely robust and transparent. You can’t do anything (where anything is things such as going to the Doctors, Chiropractor and Physio etc.) without it being recorded on your ‘file’ courtesy of the magic of your CPR number. All the government departments have access to your ‘file’. Yes, big brother is watching. But as we’re all paying big taxes it seems it is also largely accepted that 'big bro' is watching. If over half your salary is being paid to the Government then I guess you really want to be sure that no one is pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes and claiming more than they are entitled. High tax = high accountability.
To be honest I don’t really understand the whole system yet other than I paid OVER HALF MY WAGES to the government. It’s complicated. I smile, nod and give the government my money.
On the flipside things the government do not subsidise:
- Coffee. Given it is consumed at quantities equivalent to having an IV drip inserted I thought there might have been a chance it could have been…..but at NZD$8-$10 for a Latte (or similar), espresso coffee continues to be a luxury in Copenhagen with most Danes preferring to drink filter or plunger coffee at home (for hours). Refer to rules of socialising in Denmark.
- Furniture (unless it’s from IKEA). Although largely you’re paying for quality and kick-arse design with Danish design being world leading. So we don’t complain about that one.
- Baby stuff. In comparison to New Zealand where Kmart or The Warehouse would often deliver $1 and $2 bargains I’ve yet to find an equal source here. Bargains though come in other forms via apps such as ‘Reshopper’ (thanks for the intel LH). Reshopper is built on the idea of making it simple, easy and time saving to sell and buy children’s used stuff. The ethos seems to be largely built on recycling used stuff being good for the environment and the economy. The success of the app is helped (in Copenhagen at least) with the high density living. There’s a lot of people within a 2km radius of our apartment selling a lot of things.
Righto – it is July. Which means Denmark is currently ‘closed’ as everyone is on Summer Holidays. So best we go join them.
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*denotes a number I plucked out of the air which has no scientific research attached to it but is likely to be somewhat accurate.
And now for some photos which have nothing to do with Tax: