Don’t politicise tax payment, it’s civic duty

FOLLOWING two decades of sustained growth, Tanzania reached an important milestone in July 2020, when it formally graduated from low-income country to lowermiddle-income country status.

This achievement reflects sustained macroeconomic stability that has supported growth, in addition to the country’s rich natural endowments and strategic geographic position that every citizen should be proud of.

In the wake of this, still it is the responsibility of every citizen to see into it that the country sails ahead and development projects realised in the new Sixth Phase administration under President Samia Suluhu Hassan, because at the end of the day, we are building Tanzania.

In light of this, right from independence in 1961, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, the founder of the nation cited diseases, ignorance and poverty as the leading enemies Tanzania must fight without surrender and fighting them requires money, goodwill and collective responsibility.

And so long as the country is still held captive by these three major enemies, its independence is still incomplete and must be addressed by Tanzanians, who must pay taxes according to the constitution to enable the government lead in this war.

Hence, from the Mwalimu-led administration to the successive regimes the governments have been fighting the enemies with our resources, which must first come from within; otherwise we end up depending on foreigners to solve our own problems.

Why should there be a lot of unnecessary discourses on paying taxes, yet paying taxes is considered a civic duty, although doing so is also a requirement of the law. If you do not pay your taxes, the government agency that oversees taxes-Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) – will require you to pay your taxes or else face penalties, such
as fines or going to jail.

Why should one wait to be pushed by TRA to pay taxes, as if the money (taxes) paid are for the benefit of the TRA staff and their families?

In short, the benefit of paying taxes is to ensure that everyone in the community enjoys the services being provided by government (remember the government does not involve itself in any trade to mint money, but only collects taxes) for the benefit of the nation.

The money you pay in taxes goes to many places. In addition to paying the salaries of government workers, your tax also helps to support common resources, such as police and firefighters. Tax money helps to ensure the roads you travel on are safe and well-maintained.

It would be pointless, for instance, for economically stable and well-educated citizens to be unhealthy, because drugs are not in hospitals.

These hospitals require modern facilities, professional doctors; you name it and all these require money, which must come from taxes we pay.

Equally, TRA should also be sober, friendly and considerate, while collecting taxes.

They should educate and repeatedly remind the citizens even if they know that paying taxes is for their own benefit.

Above all, TRA should only collect right and justified taxes, beyond that tantamount to fleecing and corruption.

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