close-icon

Where does my money go?

Prerana Marasini

Prerana Marasini

Where does my money go?

As the new budget has introduced progressive tax, I thank the government for understanding the woes of people struggling financially. But what I have never been able to understand is how the inflation keeps growing and commodities continue to be expensive

As a taxpayer, I have the right to ask this simple question: where does the money I pay in tax go? Does it support children’s education? Does it contribute to make medication free or buy foods at subsidized cost? Does it go towards development? If so, where and how much? And why do people have to lose lives and properties to foot the medical bills? Or why are the killer roads not fixed? Where’s the answer? Who should answer? “You can feel proud for becoming a taxpayer,” says the website of the Inland Revenue Department and that “Each taxpayer is treated with due respect and honor” in return. But the country’s realities are not so encouraging that I can feel proud by just paying tax. Most of all, I don’t know where it goes and if the objec­tive of tax collection is ever met.

 

As the new budget has introduced progressive tax, I thank the govern­ment for understanding the woes of people struggling financially. But what I have never been able to understand is how the inflation keeps growing and commodities continue to be expensive. The very people the government wishes to support suffer. Can the country’s dream of reaching middle-income status ever materialize when the government hardly gives any sub­sidy on essential commodities to those in low-income category? Will they be lifted from this level? When people need to spend a significant amount of their income on food, health, and education, how can they save or make enough to rise to higher income levels?

 

Higher taxes must be imposed on those who make more money but even they have a right to know where it goes. There are always cas­es of tax evaders. I have literally handed over money to doctors—I can in fact picture a few of them—as their fees. For formality, they keep someone at the counter, charging a nominal fee to make a patient card, but when you finally meet the doctors, you are required to hand in the doctor’s fees in person. They’ll happily pocket the money, without giving you a receipt, clearly evading tax. Why aren’t these incidents reported much? Does their noble-sounding job give them tax exemption? If not, why does it still happen?

 

Rich countries always boast how their taxpayers’ money supports people across the globe and they brand it with slogans like “From the American/British/Japanese Peo­ple” and so on. In most developed countries, taxpayers also get a tax return, which motivates people to pay more. I wonder how long it will take to start such a policy in Nepal! Here, we pay road tax, vehicle tax, income tax, and many others but in return get unhealthy air to breathe, roads full of potholes, no medical assistance, and adulterated food and milk. Every year, the development budget is heavily underutilized. So where is our money going? Why can’t this be calculated and shown to public?