You ViewsVOLUME 18 ISSUE # 38

Taxing the overly-taxed salaried class

To meet the revenue-generation demands placed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the government preferred to follow the path undertaken by successive governments in Pakistan; tax the overly-taxed salaried class.

The income tax on salaried class in the country matches the rate in developed countries, which is fair only till you factor in the fact that people in return get a facilitated life in the shape of infra- structure, supply of utilities, health, education, price stability and other areas of everyday living. In Pakistan, the salaried class actually regrets having to pay tax till retirement and resent the fact that the tax is deducted at source. This is because nobody’s life is facilitated in any shape or kind by the government. In fact, the people who do have a facilitated existence happen to be the very people who do not pay taxes at all, or pay a fraction of what they are supposed to pay in proportion to their income. From retailers to feudals, they all fall in the latter category.

For the salaried class, there is relentless loadshedding both by natural gas and electricity supply companies. There are law and order issues, including street violence and mugging. There are dilapidated roads, garbage disposal issues, traffic jams, and so on. It is as if Murphy’s law is the only law that prevails in the land; anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It does go wrong in Pakistan, doesn’t it? This is not to suggest that the tax-evading ‘privileged’ people do not face these issues. Of course, they do, but they have the means to overcome the barriers. If there is no electricity, there is the generator.

Let us, the salaried people, live with some sense of dignity and honour in our own eyes. Please do not force us to join the beggars on the streets to make ends meet which is fast becoming a serious and much dreaded possibility. The amount the government wants to collect can easily be collected by reducing 5-10 per cent expenditure on parliamentarians, ministers and special assistants, and by reducing the funds wasted on protocol.

Do whatever it takes, and there is a lot that should be done, but, please, do not make things worse for the salaried class.

Hasan Tharani