Wage Tax Stamps

In 1931 New Zealand was suffering from The Great Depression with large numbers of uneployed people.


The Unemployment Amendment Act was introduced in 1932 and created an emergency charge payable on all wages and salaries. This charge stayed in effect at various rates until 1958 when it was replaced by the PAYE system.


Initially the tax was 1.25% on all wages (3d per Pound), and rose in stages to 12.5% in 1942.


The changes in the name from Unemployment Relief, to Employment, and then to Social Security reflected the widening scope of the tax and its beneficiaries.


The wages tax stamps were purchased by the employer from the stamp office and stamps to the calculated amount of tax payable by the wage earner were affixed to the wages book, and cancelled by the employee signing over the top of them when they collected their money for the week.


All images in this section are kindly provided from the collection of Aussie Robson.