Tax culture in Afghanistan
The citizens of each country have a number of rights and privileges according to their domestic law which is the duty and responsibility of governments to fulfill these rights and privileges. On the other hand, providing these rights and privileges need huge financial resources which most governments obtain it through taxation from their citizens.
One of the major obstacles of the taxation in the majority of countries, including Afghanistan is the negative mentality of the people about paying taxes. Indeed taxpayers considered tax as a kind of extortion money and think that tax officers are appointed by the government to take their personal assets by force and without any right.
Given the need to pay taxes by the people to the government should be accepted as a principle, entirely until people of communities are unaware of importance of paying taxes and it’s positive effects on development of national economy and prosperity of citizens, they can never be expected to have sufficient motivation to pay taxes and the only way out of this situation is to develop taxation culture among the people.
There have been several interpretations of taxation culture and in the simplest analysis, tax culture is the collection of insights, concept, social values, reactions and level of awareness of the people from the tax and its rules and payment method; In other words the beliefs of the people in relation to tax and the need to pay the tax is called taxation culture.
In today’s world most advanced and developed nations have accepted the payment of taxes as a culture that if they receive public facilities and services in their daily life, they are obliged to pay it’s cost, whether these services and facilities are direct or indirect. Therefore, they pay their taxes voluntarily against the public services which they receive from their respective government.
Afghanistan has witnessed rapid growth in recent years in tax culture, and thus increasing tax collection has been unprecedented but still compared with the majority of developing countries, this growth was not enough and to institutionalize more, government and tax authorities need more sustainable efforts and planning.
Unfair taxation on the people is one of the factors undermining the tax culture in Afghanistan. As we have witnessed even in cases that taxpayers considered paying tax unfair and had expressed opposition by unworthy justification against payment of taxes. Worst of all, sometimes tax avoidance and tax evasion are known as a kind of gimmick and success. Whereas in a country like Afghanistan that its nation through the history has been a clear example of self-sacrifice and generosity than ever need to pay taxes and share in the development and prosperity of the country than ever needs to be recognized as an honor and a great value.
Public awareness about how the revenues are consumed motivates them to pay the taxes more than ever. Therefore one of the key factors in strengthening and promoting a culture of paying taxes is that the government should have the serious consideration to, is existence of powerful surveillance agencies on how revenues of taxes are spent, because surveillance agencies ensure the taxpayers that their paid taxes are spent in a good way and are not wasted.
In addition to the weak growth of tax culture in Afghanistan, there are other insufficiencies in the country’s taxation system which these insufficiencies are also predisposing factor to weaken the tax culture and decrease belief of people on the tax system, are: gaps in the tax laws and administrative procedures of taxation can be described as the greatest example of these insufficiencies.
Indeed, it should be noted to promote tax culture through public awareness of the importance and necessity of paying taxes that means the people should know their taxes were reimbursed for their welfare and development of their country’s prosperity. Then the tax culture in the country will strengthen and certainly, we will be the witness of voluntary payment of taxes by all taxpayers.
Masnad Legal Consultancy