Exactly when the people of this Indian Sub-continent started paying taxes to Governments nobody could tell. But in our childhood we read books in rhymes that King’s men used to come to villages and collect levies (‘khazana’) from the farmers, who had been regularly failing due to crop-fail; but the king’s people wouldn’t listen or pay heed the pain and sorrows, so punishments were there with more fines and burdens from the King’s treasury. Now the time has changed the king’s people no more visit our villages and towns, now we have our own elected governments, who promised us good dreams, sweet days and bright future for our children, yet, the taxes are there and more vigorously, intelligently, eloquently, with brilliant logics with different colorful names like, levies, VAT, Surcharge, Duties, etc. the same is going on. Sometimes, people wondering who was more pro-people, the monarchs who conquer and grab power with power of swords and horses or the governments elected by people and lovingly educated people call democratically elected government!
People, sufferings, pain have been remaining the same or in most of the cases increased, when elected governments started thinking of themselves. Now the Government is, in practice, like any other business enterprises and the Ministers are become Managers and Prime Minister is Chief Executive Officer. So, people become consumers or clients and source of honey to squeeze and extract in a way of taxation and levies.
Where is the liberty and freedom?
People are not in liberty, no free from any ‘doms. We are bound and must pay the price or feed the people elected to serve our interests and betrayed (rather happily we love to be betrayed! If not why elect?). Oh no! No one could step or talk against it, you can deny God’s commandments and leave free till the death in the God’s earth, but can’t in the country demarked by geographic borders set by God’s subjects! If tried and caught different punishments and laws are there to deport to hell or some call it jail! Who would deny that it is a kind of force that government’s are imposing against one’s will to pay. Would it be wrong if some one smells some resemblances between this practice of collecting taxes and muggers in the street, or hijackers? Yes friends, there is a difference, of course, one is done by power with many supporters like court of laws, polices and other law enforcing bodies who have been also paid by the people for to be served, rather in fact, have been serving with or without logic. People can be with food or without food, with cloths or without, with or without medicines or shelters, but have to pay their servants utilities and facilities. People pay taxes from salaries, beautifully call it ‘income tax’ (the punishment why have you earned!) and after retirement their families cry for want of resources to pull on; but the servants they will never cry as they have provident funds, gratuity and other retirement benefits.
Are we mad to talk against the taxes?
No way! Apology for sounding like against it, for how can a government would run with its million thousand horsepower engines (Ministries and officers)! Cynic argues who asked you to have those million horsepower engines? Again the taxes in the West and in Bangladesh are different both in context and philosophy.
– Who comes first as a priority to have services when options are there to choose, Government or People? I know it’s idiotic to ask, as the child could answer the question ten of ten scores. But what we see in daylight is quite an upside down. Do I have any evidence to serve? Well, haven’t we? Should we know when choice of subsidizing people and improving revenue collection derives, what would our government do? Any more examples and instances needed, when your servants in the street beat you, when boots are on your mouth and you are down on the street crying with pain! Yet you have to pay taxes to be patriotic!
Tall talks sound good but what could be done, any remedies?
Indeed, how many times the citizens in the West pay, answer is once in a year. Indeed we too do that, do we? We pay more taxes in every ways; the poor pays more than the rich, anywhere, everywhere. Simple example, the upper class pay @Tk. 24 per square feet of residence, where as the slum dwellers pay @Tk. 27+- in Dhaka, researchers studied.
Secondly, every year all the Muslims who have one-year savings worth certain amount of money and gold or silver must pay ‘Zakat’ (handouts given every year by the rich against savings and gold/silver @ 2.5%) to poor, which normally accounted for at least more than double than the genuine taxes. So, why not ‘Zakat’ could be taken as Taxes, as the old ‘Khilfats’ (Era after the death of Muhammad, peace be upon him) used to accept as taxes. Now the Muslims are bound to pay the Zakat as it is the ‘Farz’ (Mandatory as Allah ordered to do it) for every Muslims as per commandments in the Koran. No one hesitate to provide the actual amount of Zakat as it is indeed related to his or her Allah and rewards and punishments are there in the world hereafter.
So, even if Government is interested to serve its own purpose could follow this or put options before people which one they prefer to give. Total revenue collection would be enhanced, as evading Zakat is a sin, but avoiding Taxes is a fun!