Ben Woodhead Deputy editor - digital

Ben Woodhead is deputy editor - digital at the Financial Review Group. He writes on business, technology, politics and the economy and can be found on BRW, The Australian Financial Review and Smart Investor.

View more articles from Ben Woodhead

UN proposes $US50bn billionaires tax

Published 06 July 2012 09:41, Updated 11 July 2012 04:49

+font -font print
UN proposes $US50bn billionaires tax

A billionaire’s tax is among a number of co-ordinate revenue raising activities the UN thinks could help address a $US167 billion development funding shortfall. Source: United Nations

The world’s billionaires would stump up $US50 billion to help feed the world’s poor if the United Nations gets its way.

The 1 per cent tax on individuals with wealth of $US1 billion or more is among a number of global revenue raising measures the UN has put forward in a new report, World Economic and Social Survey 2012: In Search of New Development Finance.

The UN would also look to sting globetrotters with an airline tax, dubbed a “solidarity levy”, which it reckons could raise $US10 billion a year.

The United Nation’s has proposed the measures saying that the world’s economic woes have led to a $US167 billion shortfall in development assistance as better-off-donors cut back on the assistance they give to the world’s less fortunate.

The organisation’s 2012 World Economic and Social Survey estimates that the number of people around the world worth more than $US1 billion climbed to 1226 in 2012, with the bulk of those (425 billionaires) living in the United States.

Around 315 billionaires in the Asia-Pacific region, 310 in Europe, 90 in Canada and Central and South America and 86 in the Africa and Middle East would be asked to stump up for the tax under the UN’s plan.

Together, the organisations estimates the 1226 mega-wealthy individuals own $US4.6 trillion.

“The ‘average’ billionaire would own $US3.7 billion after paying the tax. If that billionaire spent $US1000 per day, it would take him or her over 10,000 years to spend all his or her wealth,” the report says.