The most desirable thing on earth for any fully grown up man is being a law abiding citizen. This means paying taxes to keep the country running. When a man pays his taxes in full, he feels good about it and this wonderful feeling directly affects how he does the rest of his things. Back in the days before some of us were born or when we were just little, there was graduated tax in Uganda. This kind of tax was collected door to door, and household to household and irresponsible men of that time had it rough. Most had to flee their homes when the tax authorities where moving around.
We really must pay taxes if we want to see progress in our countries. Personally, I’ve experienced the best of the pride moments of being a man when I was paying in taxes. I mean the direct taxes. The likes of VAT are most times painless to most individuals except a few who know how to do the calculations, and the bigger the pain; the better you feel. Paying in taxes is painful, but it also makes you feel good. So one of the ways to feel better is by paying taxes; that is being a law abiding citizen. And this goes as well for the government services fees like paying for driving permit or passport; I can clearly remember the endless smiles I gave to the young pretty lady teller at Diamond Trust Bank Uganda when I was paying for my driving permit.
Now to do the needful and be a law abiding citizen, you got to have a Tax Identification Number (TIN). This is the recognition number used by the Tax Authority to identify your transactions. It is required for both businesses and personal use, for example; people who earn salaries need TIN numbers to remit their PAYE. Without a TIN in most cases, your employer cheats you by deducting your PAYE from your gross pay but doesn’t submit it to the tax body since you yourself doesn’t have a TIN. Now in this case your employer cheats both you and the country with your indirect aid. And for the business sector, it is a MUST to have a TIN. Personally, I don’t buy from businesses which don’t have TIN numbers because it means they don’t pay taxes.
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Any country that is progressing very well towards desired goals has a proper and working tax system. Rwanda happens to be making good positive moves economically and the strict tax laws and system here makes it possible to give the citizens what they not only need, but also what they want. A lot of my friends here say they cannot go into business simply because of the strict tax laws and proper system of collection, but one got to give what belongs to Cesar to Cesar. This has somehow become an advantage for me; I mean a lot of guys don’t want to do business because they fear the taxes, but every successful businessman knows that it is the consumers who really pay taxes. Businesses always transfer taxes on the final consumer. Only that, the percentage looks so small that most consumers don’t notice it.
Here are my thoughts on why we should give Cesar what belongs to him:
- National security. In my country of origin; Uganda, security of the nationals has become a very worrying issue. I am now even being forced to pray more for my brothers and sisters in Uganda than pray for myself. A lot of women have been murdered and people’s properties stolen. Of late it has become a curse to be okay in Uganda. When you’re okay in that country, you become a target to the bad guys who the Uganda Police can’t stop because the force lacks logistics and intelligence to combat some of these criminal acts. And this points to lack of funding. The force might be very corrupt; but the more funding they lack the more corrupt they will be, – according to me. Let’s pay in our taxes, so these guys are okay and they may take care of our lives better.
- Social services provision. The health sector in my motherland once again is very wanting that we the citizens are always approached to raise money for our fellow comrades seeking critical medical attention. The country cannot treat its own citizens because it is generally broke. Uganda mostly survives on hands outs from other countries and loans from the World Bank and the IMF that continuously keep adding salt to the injury. In 2015 I stayed by my mother’s side while she was undergoing treatment at the Uganda Heart Institute at Mulago Hospital and I can tell you, the bills, for just a few days was huge. I wonder how patients with minimal financial means and people to stand by their sides survive there. This should be a motivation for us to work harder so that we can finance our country through paying taxes and our country will be in position to treat and cure us. For the corrupt fellas, we will deal with them harshly.
There is one special group we have in Uganda that needs the restoration of the firing squad; the tax evaders. It’s a common thing to see very big guys crushing big vehicles of the latest models but donning older number plates which were released before the models of cars they are driving. It hurts a lot to some of us who are trying to make a difference, but like Jesus said, “Give to Cesar what belongs to Cesar, and to God what belongs to God”.
This has been a Jimmy Ruva creation, thanks for reading and feel free to contribute your views in the comments box below.