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Going after tax dodgers

10 9 0

The writer served as executive editor of The Express Tribune from 2009 to 2014

Nobody pays his taxes voluntarily. It is considered extortion by the taxpayers. It is only the fear of being caught and punished that makes one pay taxes honestly. Even in the most civilised countries, rich people enlist the services of the best tax lawyers to manipulate the tax laws so as to have their income tax liabilities reduced to the minimum.

Still, the tax laws in these countries have remained strict enough to coerce the taxpayers into paying enough to fund their socio-economic and defence budgets.

In Pakistan every time a new government comes in, no matter which — civilian or military — one invariably hears pledges to broaden the tax base and go after tax dodgers with no holds barred. But these pledges turn into regrets within a matter of couple of months with the government accepting to live with the ‘facts of life’.

Remember the way Musharraf sent teams of Army personnel to the markets doing roaring business to coerce them into paying their dues? But........

© The Express Tribune