Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Taxing times

It is that time of the year, when we must think of the dreaded word called 'tax', also known as extortion by the neighbourhood goonda out of the ethically and hard earned money from our business.

It is also that time of the year, when we make the annual piligrimage to confess our financial sins of the year to the priest called 'accountant' or better yet "the tax consultant". We expect forgiveness not from the Gods of Income Tax department, but only the momentary forgiveness of the lowly priest. Forgiveness is demanded even if we produce the rent receipt from spouse or anonymous office colleagues to collect HRA, or invest in some shady mutual fund to claim exemption under the particular part of the scripture called "Section 80C", or claim car rent allowance by producing the bill signed by a spouse ... the sins are subtle, the list is huge, the scriptures are in legalese sanskrit, interpretation is ambiguous ("What is the max exemption under Section 80D - is it Rs. 10000 or Rs. 15000 ?") and here we are, hoping against hope, that the forgiveness of the priest is enough to ensure that the Gods do not cast a jaundiced eye on our rap-sheet and hopefully, move on to catch idiots who didn't have the brains to cover up their tracks.

Yet, we wonder why the road is not asphalted, why our primary education level is so bad, why our Ginie coefficient indicates the poor are getting poorer ...

It is also that time of the year, when we promise that we were good boys and expect our Santa Claus called Finance Minister to reward our good behavior with tax exemptions in his budget speech.

And then, we, the obvious non-sinners, pure of heart, start casting the stones on those leaders, our very own people, comrade-in-arms if you will, but foolish enough to stand in elections and get demoted to a very low caste called "politicians" - so low that they are often compared to worms ... yes, we elect them and then accuse them of corruption.
And then, we are proud to say we are clean because we didn't even vote in the election ... since all politicians are sleazy anyway ...

Of course, we are all patriots, aren't we ?

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