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Deutsche Bank proposes $14 a day work from home tax

Lucy Dean
·3-min read
Father multi-tasking with young son (2 yrs) at kitchen table
You could be taxed for the privilege of working from home. Image: Getty

People who work from home could be slugged with a $14-a-day tax with the proceeds to help those who can’t afford to take up remote work.

In a new report, Deutsche Bank suggested a new 5 per cent daily tax on remote workers could reduce the damage caused by the swift global transition to remote work.

Deutsche Bank said remote workers enjoy the benefits of flexibility and save money from not having to commute, purchase and care for work clothes, or pay for takeaway lunches. But at the same time, laundromats, dry cleaners, restaurants, cafes and retailers have suffered due to the reduced demand.

“Working from home will be part of the ‘new normal’ well after the pandemic has passed,” global head of fundamental credit strategy and thematic research at Deutsche Bank Jim Reid said.

“Our calculations suggest the amounts raised could fund material income subsidies for low-income earners who are unable to work remotely and thus assume more ‘old economy’ and health risks.”

The tax would come to around US$10 or AU$13.80 a day for a worker earning AU$75,920, and would add up to the amount remote workers would ordinarily pay coming into the office.

For a country like America, it could raise as much as an extra AU$66 billion in tax revenue, while it would deliver AU$33 billion to the German economy and AU$12 billion to the UK.

Deutsche Bank strategist Luke Templeman said the Covid-19 pandemic had “turbocharged” the uptake of remote work, and it was now time to rethink the way the new mode of operation is taxed.

“A big chunk of people have disconnected themselves from the face-to-face world yet are still leading a full economic life. That means remote workers are contributing less to the infrastructure of the economy whilst still receiving its benefits. That is a big problem for the economy,” Templeman said.

Templeman said the virus has helped remote workers “such as bank analysts” but placed others, like nurses, at risk.

The tax wouldn’t apply to self-employed workers or those on low incomes, and it also wouldn’t apply to those who had to isolate or who were unwell.

The idea hasn’t been well received.

“Deutsche Bank strategists should be taxed for stupidity,” finance and technology expert Anthony Pompliano tweeted.

“Another way to raise $48 billion would be to fine Deutsche Bank for all the money laundering,” added another.

The major bank was accused of laundering AU$2.7 trillion along with other major banks in September this year.

“Wait until you hear about my innovative 5 per cent tax on Deutsche Bank strategists,” another person commented.

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