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Appeal to PM: An insight to ensure voluntary tax compliance: Mir Abdullah Haroon

Appeal to PM: An insight to ensure voluntary tax compliance: Mir Abdullah Haroon

It is a widespread belief that our people are obsessed with standing out and protocols hence, the mainstream VIP culture.  Although cognizant but one fails to conceive the extent to which this addiction exceeds to. My father working as the Protocol Officer to the Prime Minister had the first-hand experience to have a glimpse of how this particular obsession dictates our day-to-day activities. To attain a minimal amount of respect through protocols or any other form of social recognition our people can transgress through boundaries.  To this day this norm has been cast down, negated, and discouraged but so hardwired that it still exists and is prevalent.

It is hard to change who we are but why change at all.

A lens of suspicion and speculation escalates negativity

Whereas, optimism leads to progress.

The obsession we see as a setback is an asset. How is it bad if our people want respect and recognition if channelized the right way they would even endeavor to earn it?  We can use this addiction to in fact incentivize taxation.

An adequate tax revenue growth rate is paramount to robust macroeconomic stability.  No one would ever argue against this contention but it’s mindboggling that the phrase ‘voluntary tax compliance’ every single time raises eyebrows. A sustainable resolution to an intricate and deep-rooted problem is not coercive and powerful institutions but corresponding individuals.  The power of the institution is always overestimated and the compelling force of the society is proportionally undermined.  If we policies in a way that our culture would drive “voluntarily tax compliance”, there cannot be a greater force in confrontation.

For tax compliance categories of privilege card for taxpayers is what we propose. A privilege card that would proportionally confer upon the taxpayers their long-desired respect and acknowledgment, while compelling compliance to the tax withholders.  The proportionality would be based on the amount of tax they pay. The icing on the cake is that this particular privilege card won’t cost a penny to the public exchequer because the bureaucracy already enjoys these perks and privileges.  Astonishingly, what’s so precious and addictive is equally cheap. How this card would grant perks, is as follows. Proportionate to the category of the privilege card. Priority access to all administrative offices. A formal warm welcome during travel and special treatment in all government control institutions for example the railways and airport. Expeditious disposal of their complaints. We have countless more feasible proposals which we would brief accordingly. This system would gain two primary objectives. 1, It would encourage the taxpayers to pay even more taxes to have access to a higher privilege card.    2, There would be a compelling psychological wave that would alter the behavior of the withholders and make them regular taxpayers.

A reverse psychology approach for tax compliance is both effective and sustainable. The societal mindset itself would act as the key force for its enforcement. Mere legislation is never enough, public consent strengthens the rule of law. Our proposal would enable our country to achieve a society-friendly correctional system, an invisible mechanism having the capacity to alter human behavior and use it for the common national interest.

The writer works at Umer Law Associates as a researcher in policymaking [email protected]