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Personal income tax now accounts for two-thirds of the taxes on incomes and profits as corporate tax’s share has dwindled over the past two decades. It is now closer to 10% of GDP. In good years, personal tax bands should be adjusted with inflation to avoid a real increase in people’s tax. Yet even in February 2018, long before anyone realised the depth of our fiscal hole, there was only partial relief with a 3.1% increase in the rebates. This raised a further R6.8bn. In the current budget, finance minister Tito Mboweni went further by not adjusting the income tax brackets at all, which is expected to raise a further R12.8bn. Absa Wealth strategist Craig Pheiffer calls this a stealth tax as, strictly speaking, nothing is being raised. "It will certainly be much less visible and obviously painful than the 29c increase in the fuel levy." But it is useful change: R12.8bn is enough to cover the budget for technical and vocational education and training. The only concession has been that...

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