As conscientious Nepali tax payers, it is deeply satisfying for many of us to see that the government is putting our hard-earned taxes to good use by coming up with creative new ideas for new taxes. In this way, some of us who still have some disposable income will not just be sitting unproductively on our non-performing assets, but will finally get off our derrières.
Still, this is not the time to hem and haw, or for ifs and butts. It is the time for every Nepali of taxable age to ask himself and herself some wrenching questions: Is the government doing enough? Is it leaving any stones un-overturned to enlarge the tax bracket and widen the tax net? My personal feeling (and this is entirely my opinion and does not in any way reflect the opinions, if any, of my present employers, or of the various organisms that I have worked for in the past, and may work for in the future) is that it is not.
The government is not doing enough. It is being complacent. It is evading raising taxes. The Right Honorary Prime Minister Comrade Lotus Flower is so busy re-aligning Nepal’s non-aligned foreign policy that he has no time figuring out ways to increase state revenue. He better come up with new things to tax, otherwise there will be no tax-payer’s money for him to purloin. Chairman Terrific must go boldly forth where no government has gone before to come up with new things to tax, otherwise at the rate he is going he will never meet the Tenth Plan target for profligacy, waste and revenue leakage.
In the interest of transparency, it is my civic duty as Donkey-in-Chief to bring to the attention of esteemed readers at the present juncture that there may be a slight conflict of interest in going any further with this column since the Ministry of Finance, Pvt Ltd has just hired this scribe (hitherto known as “yours truly”, and hereinafter referred to as “me”) as a consultant to advise the government on a more futuristic tax policy. But in the national interest it is my duty to privately leak to you the salient points of my suggested recommendations to FinMin, provided you do not tell anyone. Promise? OK, here goes:
. The government has stopped short of using this time-tested revenue-raising method on tax dodgers. This technique, which involves actual physical contact at the sub-cuticular level between the taxman and the fingernails of the payee has guaranteed efficacy. It is currently being used with excellent results in Guantanamo and torture chambers around the free world.
2. Graft Tax
. The FinMin is soon to set up a Department of Kickbacks whose responsibility it will be to slap a 10 percent VAT, 2 percent Service Charge and 4 percent National Corruption Surcharge on every kickback and bribe given or received within the current boundaries of Nepal.
3.Capital Flight Levy
. No, contrary to what you think, the government is not going to reintroduce an airport tax on all flights leaving the capital. This is actually a 50 percent tariff on all cash being smuggled inside the false bottoms of outgoing passengers.
4. Adulteration Tax
. All fuel stations committing adultery by adding subsidised kerosene to the diesel they sell at gas stations over and beyond the present 50 percent mixing they carry out must hand over half the money stolen to the Nepal Oil Corruption as Adulterous Tax. Otherwise, the gas station in question will be raided and booked for black marketeering.
5. Sunshine Tax
. It has come to the notice of the Taxonomy Department that civil servants and slaves have been sun bathing on the terrace of Singha Durbar for free. A solar tax has therefore been slapped at a flat rate of Rs 100 per head per hour of sunshine. A Lunar Tax will also be announced soon as a levy on the extra income of moonlighters.
The above five bright ideas will put the government in a comfortable position to meet any exigencies by mobilising internal resources, and reduce our dependence on donor support.