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Bon Journal

Income tax self-assessment

"Tax" in my vocabulary is a dreaded word. It's a commission fee the government charges for allowing its people to exist. For foreigners, who don't get unemployment and other benefits, it's a nonrefundable surcharge for the privilege of working in that country.

I don't understand why we have to spend so much time and effort figuring out how much tax to pay and how we can pay less tax. On the other side, the inland revenue has people dedicated to double-checking the accuracy of our assessments and chasing after us for correct and timely payment.

There is some taxation level above which it becomes a disincentive to earn more money. I'm reminded of this every time I have to do my income tax self-assessment. In fact, I'm reminded of this every time I receive my paycheque. It is not pleasant to see the figures - how little is left after the tax and national insurance deductions.

It is excruciatingly painful to know that on average every third day I work for free, that is, I give my wages to the government. It is no wonder that I wait until the very last possible moment to do my income tax self-assessment.

5 September 2001