Paying taxes is a civic duty. There is only a threefold condition: They are according to the capacity of the private and juridical persons to pay. They are collected fairly without deceit especially on the part of both the payee. They are spent for the public welfare.
Therefore, over-taxation is an abuse of public authority. Influential and powerful persons paying less taxes than the common tao is blatant injustice. Public revenues going to private pockets or funding personal interests is the summit of corruption.
The main reservation of people in paying taxes to the government also has a threefold premise: It is not exactly known for its integrity. It is even resolved in collecting more and more taxes. Yet it is providing less and less benefits to the public.
As to the church, sects and other religious movements paying taxes, why the big fuss? Why the loud threat? The government must know the difference between taxable incomes and exempt revenues. This is not hard to know. When the government does not collect correct taxes from taxable incomes or wrongly demands taxes from exempt revenues--this is squarely the fault of government.
Now that the government is resolute in taxing even the poorest of the poor, here is one unsolicited and unwelcome advice: the government better take a good look at the jueteng lords in the country.
Even barbers know them by name. But the way these characters live and behave the conclusion is likewise threefold: the government does not know who they are. The public authorities consider them untouchable. They are altogether tax-exempt.
Would that the government put its act together, get the country out of the dubious distinction of being the second most corrupt in the world, make the rating of satisfaction of the national leadership even but a little bit higher.
18 April 2005