Living in a Tax Heaven

Warning: Read with Caution. Some may get a Heart Attack Reading Today’s Post.

Most Pakistanis don’t get tired of complaining about the country and the Government. They all seem to know and that too with conviction how to run this country right. This includes chai wala, paan waala, office workers, your next door neighbors, and specially TV anchors.

Since the purpose of this blog is to build bridges between American and Pakistani readers, I would like to provide some comparisons and parallels. To start out here are the average monthly utility bills of our US home. Electric + Gas (depending on weather) $250 or Rs. 25,000, Water $150 or Rs. 15,000, Property Tax $600 or Rs. 60,000. This means $1000 or Rs. one lakh in utility bills alone. Then Federal Income Tax 10% to 28% of salary (State and City tax are separate), Sales Tax on all purchases average 8% of the price. Now except the electric and gas bill there are no bills to pay in Pakistan. Income tax is average 0-10%. Isn’t this a heaven where people keep most of what they earn in their pockets. People must realize the services are commensurate to what you pay. If the garbage trucks weekly collect the garbage of every US home, then they are paying a large chunk of their income towards property taxes to get it. If there is running tap water 24/7 in a US home then they are paying monthly water bills based on consumption. Even the drain and storm water which we have no control over, gets measured and charged. Water bills are practically non-existent in Pakistan and most homes still get water. Property taxes are also negligible.

So far I, just like most Americans, used to complain about high taxes in US, but now I realize how taxes are necessary to run a society with all its amenities. We all pay taxes (except Donald Trump and his likes) towards a pool which then is used to provide civic and welfare services. The US is far from being perfect but Pakistanis must realize that if they demand the services then they also have to pay a monetary price. Only recently it dawned on me that I shouldn’t complain about water since I am not being charged any monthly water bill.

Pay for Electric get electric, pay for water get water, pay for clean-up get it cleaned….and please please please can we please stop throwing trash in common spaces. Wouldn’t whole Pakistan be clean if we didn’t trash it to begin with. Back in the days I was guilty of it too but its never too late to learn good things.

According to official statistics, average per capita income in US is $3500 per month out of which one only gets $2500 per month after all deductions and then you pay all the bills. So roughly 75% of one’s income goes towards taxes and bills. Regardless of what your income is in Pakistan, how would you like if 75% of your income went to the Government? You would probably topple the Government 🙂 Wouldn’t you?

P.S. Sorry if I bored you with numbers today. Being an analyst, I believe that everything is an opinion unless backed by numbers.


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