Tax As You Spend


With the upcoming Budget, it is an opportune time for politicians to use what modicum of grey matter they MIGHT have between their ears, and actually THINK about how taxes, especially Income and Road Vehicle Taxes, are collected by the government.

It has been said, repeatedly, and in many newspapers, over many years, that a substantial number of exceedingly well-paid individuals largely avoid paying their fair share of tax. These include probably most doctors and lawyers, garages, and anyone who can insist on being paid for his services in cash.

The solution is simple: Abolish the conventional income tax returns and consequent payments from source, i.e. income from a job, and replace this by taxing almost all goods sold in shops and any other outlets. It amounts to a slight increase on VAT, and the same mecanisms could be used, with some improvements to remove holes in THAT system. Clearly, the poor would need suitable protection on purchases of basic goods.

I, and many others, have said all that before in MT, and elsewhere, but it has attracted no notice, or response. We really LOVE being fossilized here!

While I am on my high horse, another grossly unfair stupidity stands out. This is the “declaration” or Road Fund Licence (RFL, as it is called in civilized countries) on vehicles. For small and medium cars this stands at Rs 3500 per annum, with more for large vehicles. This figure applies whether an individual lives in Mahebourg and works in Port Louis, thus driving well over 80 miles daily, but ALSO to someone like me and my wife, both retired, and who drive cars of less than 1000 c.c. perhaps every other day, to go shopping in Vacoas from Floreal. Occasionally, when I can no longer resist Rosy’s delicious prawn curry at Gris Gris, I go there once every few weeks. (Free ad, Rosy!)

Clearly, to make me and the Mahebourg businessman both pay Rs 3500 annually for similar cars is very unfair. The tax on cars should reflect their use in miles and cubic engine capacity.

Again, the solution is extremely simple: put a moderate addition onto the price of petrol, or diesel, per unit volume. This would be very simple to work out, even for a 5th Form schoolchild – given relevant input data. The Government would not lose, but even gain revenue promptly, and the system would be just, and immediate in operation.

That’s it for now. I like brevity, and have no further ideas today!

Except: why cannot mauritians think at all??

A POSTSCRIPT: A classic example of such unthinking stupidity occurs if one is slightly late in paying the Road Fund Licence (RFL) for one’s car. This entails a fine of 50% of the RFL, this being both exorbitant, and unfair, since the fine is NOT made proportional to the number of days late.

This happened to me recently as a result of hospitalisation owing to a severe head wound. I was a few days overdue in paying my RFL, and was informed by my local Post Office that I would have to go to Cassis, and pay the fine, before the RFL could be renewed. A friend kindly did this for me, but had to go twice due to the 116 people in front of him on trip no. 1, and had to wait 3 HOURS on his second attempt, this time being successful.

Why cannot such fines be payable at the local Post Offices, and not oblige unlucky, or somewhat careless people to travel the entire length of this silly little country. After all, Post Offices accept considerable sums of VAT for expensive imports?? Accepting fines for overdue RFLs is a trivial extra convenience, AT the Post Offices, and FOR the population.

* * *

No, I had not quite finished!

After leaving my article on taxation, I happened to read another daily paper, in which an article stated that a large number of macaque monkeys are to be killed (humanely??) in Mauritius, because of over-supply to some indescribably evil company in the UK.

As many know, I look after many cats and dogs, almost all of whom were thrown out onto the road to die, as babies, by my beloved Mauritian co-citizens.

I want to say, although I am sure this statement will have zero effect, that I am 100%, utterly, and, if more is needed, completely against any form of vivisection on mammals, including mice and rats, let alone pigs – who, apparently, resemble humanity fairly closely, which is no surprise to me.

I will even extend strong distaste to the use of cockroaches. Extreme?? YES, am.

On this rapidly being spoilt planet, there are almost SEVEN BILLION “human” beings, the vast majority of whom are surplus to requirements, and starving. Just think of a modern Mauritius, but populated as it was 250 years ago. Maybe 300,000 inhabitants, or less? Would that not be greatly better?

If something like vivisection MUST be done, then use the most criminal and dangerous individuals from the human species. Murderers for gain, multiple violent recidivists, rapists – especially of children, any and all multiple rapists. The list could go on. They might be useful, and certainly greatly more so than monkeys. They would also slightly contribute to a very slight, but highly desirable reduction of human populations.

In fact, and here I am sure there will be a violent outcry, I consider that the primary tasks of biotechnologists is to devise methods of severely decreasing human birth rates on a global scale. Implementation would be a political bomb, perhaps impossible, but the alternative: 9 billion, then a little later on 12, then 20 then 50, etc., etc., is unthinkable and impossible to support.

* Published in print edition on 23 September 2011

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