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The price of civilisation... By Mohsin

07 February, 2014

"Taxes are the price we pay for civilisation," said legendry American Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Indeed, the ideal of the creation of a civilised and developed society cannot materialise without an effective and efficient system of taxation. Today, if the citizens of the western countries are enjoying full civic rights and high living standards, it is only because there exists a healthy tax culture there. Every citizen contributes his/her due share to the system honestly and diligently.

We have failed to evolve or promote a healthy tax culture in Pakistan. Besides certain tax exemptions, there is a general tendency of tax-evasion and tax avoidance in our country. Both the governors and the governed seem equally interested and obsessed with the idea of creating a sort of 'tax-free society'. Pakistan has one of the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in the world as only 0.9 percent of its population pays income tax. Since the 'big fish' always mange to escape the 'tax net', therefore only the 'small fry' are often selectively and mercilessly hooked by the skilful economic anglers in our country. It is generally believed that a particular culture had been instrumental in giving rise to a particular civilisation. Therefore, a poor tax culture can, by no means, be the basis of a rich civilisation.

Mohsin Raza Malik

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