INTRO: The history of taxation is age-long, dating back to 3000 – 2800 BC in ancient Egypt. Tax by definition is a charge (money, in the modern times), imposed by authority on persons, businesses and sales for public use. Oftentimes, tax is seen as a bad and exploitative instrument which government uses to deprive the citizenry of their hard-earned money. In spite of this negative perception, tax remains a civic duty that every citizen must perform so that the state could reciprocate with rights and privileges. There are several reasons for which citizens pay tax. For instance:
1/ Citizens Pay Tax to Enable the Government Provide Public Services: Public services are range of utilities that only the government can offer at prices with little or no profit, such as security, education, communication and health services. Governments provide these services to the citizens using the tax-payers’ money. Paying taxes simply puts more money in the public coffers for those services, and also justifies the citizens’ rights to the services.
2/ Citizens Pay Tax for Wealth Redistribution: Some tax systems such as the progressive tax system are designed to collect more money from the rich than the poor. This tax system demands that the higher you earn, the higher you pay; and by so doing, bridges the gap between the rich and the poor, and when by social spending, reduces poverty. Huge taxes levied on goods of ostentation and luxury are also meant for wealth redistribution at least to the extent that a poor has not gone for such goods or services.
3/ Citizens Pay Taxes as a Permit for Special Goods and Services: This is obtainable in a place where the government is interested in dissuading patronage of a given number of goods and services on health or social grounds. Heavy taxes levied on tobacco and alcohol are geared towards increasing the prices of the goods against affordability.
4/ Citizens Pay Taxes to Enable the Government Handle Emergencies: Disasters are real, and can occur when it will occur. Governments are able to come to the aid of victims of disasters within their territoriality and beyond with tax-payers’ money. Several lives have been saved from timely governmental interventions in disaster-stricken areas. The duo hurricanes of Harvey and Irma of 2017 that devastated parts of the United States, and Caribbean in which the governments swung into action, providing succor to the victims, are very good examples.
5/ Citizens Pay Taxes to Enable the Government Provide Public Infrastructure: Government requires money to develop and maintain good infrastructure. Proceeds from payment of taxes helps government to provide good roads, schools, hospitals, housing, railways, bridges, airports, recreational facilities, etc. The citizenry need those infrastructure for comfort and improved standard of living, and payment of tax makes them possible.