April 16 is the deadline for the filing of income taxes for private individuals. As a saying goes, nothing is certain in this world except death and taxes. I know it is quite painful to part with your hard-earned money only to lose it to corruption. I am going to set aside personal rants on government services and focus more on my perceived benefits in paying taxes (after all this is my blog. hehe!). It is easier for me to understand why I should give it freely to the government when I know I will get something in return. (In some cases, I expect and demand something in return, all within the bounds of law.)
1. Accounting knowledge. Little knowledge, they say, is dangerous. I believe zero knowledge is fatal. Ha! I have a lovely mathematics degree tucked under my belt. Ask me about quadratic equations, limits and double integration, I
will might be able to explain them (with the help of a textbook because calculus was 18 years ago. hehehe) Ask me to input an amount on a columnar book and immediately emailed my cousin on how to do it. Ha!
2. Proof of income. If you need a loan from banks and other financial institutions, the income tax return is commonly required to show that you are earning something. For those who apply for visas to travel, embassies require the income tax return to show that you are earning and you will return to the country because you have a lucrative job or business here. While I do not think I will need a loan anytime soon, I have an itchy feet and I want to travel the world. I am not yet sure with the lucrative income but I am single with no parents, no siblings and no child (how sad no? ), I can definitely fend for myself and travel a little. I am slowly trying to reach my dream of travel.
3. Budgeting tool. Paying taxes allows me to track how much I earn for the month. Sometimes, I wonder where my money went and realize I used a chunk of it on snacks. (Ha! I know I need to lose weight soon.) By knowing how much I earn per month, I can anticipate future expenses and plan personal projects.
4. Complaints leverage. Because I pay taxes, I believe it gives me the right to complain about inefficient government services. It is quite tedious for freelancers like me because we pay taxes monthly and file returns quarterly and annually. I slowly become aware of the procedures and learn what works and what does not. Dealing with government bureaucracy is a test in patience. In the US, there are online tools that help taxpayers fill up forms like the tax preparation software here. Different income brackets have different tax rates and there is an income guide available online.
5. Peace of mind. In the US, a vice president resigned due to tax evasion chargers. A mafia leader was jailed due to tax evasion. In the Philippines, several prominent personalities are pursued by BIR for tax evasion. When my aunt asked why I bother to pay taxes, I replied, “Ayokong guluhin nila ako pag Judy Ann Santos level na ako.” (I don’t want them to bother when I am as rich as Judy Ann Santos.) I know it is quite a long shot and quite improbable. However, the law excuses no one.