GST Bill will rob us of all the fun
Government expects us to make an honest living now.
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August 3 was a historic day indeed. No, Salman Khan didn't mow down extraterrestrials with his car to complete his bucket list.
Rather, the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Bill was finally passed by Parliament after a mere 16 years of debate.
But don't blame us; we had more juicy topics to debate about during this period, such as people shouting anti-national slogans, then people not shouting our favourite national slogans, etc.
It's been a fun ride in short.
So recently in my society building, we had a session with income tax officials (they were simply following the directives of Mr Modi that the tax department should have a friendly approach towards citizens).
Presumably to change responses from: "Oh! Shit, it's the tax guys. Darling, is your diamond jewellery hidden under the commode or in our Labrador's stomach?" to "Oh, wow it's the friendly tax guys again.
Darling, why don't you make some hot pakodas while I squeeze out some fresh watermelon juice for them as they wipe away our net worth".Analysts have predicted that once the GST is in place, many things will get cheaper.
Sources tell me that a few rounds of bingo were played too with society members. Just that the proud winners walked away with complimentary tax raids by the officials.
Now the GST system once implemented is supposed to unify multiple taxes and make indirect taxes a lot more convenient.
This is where the government has spoiled all the fun.
Until now, with a tricky tax structure in place, at least there was some incentive to learn the tax system well and accordingly hunt for loopholes within it to make a quick buck.
So now you expect us to make an honest living while the government conveniently robs us of the adrenaline rush we used to get by breaking the system for our personal gains. This is simply unfair.
Analysts have predicted that once the GST is in place, many things will get cheaper, which will boost consumption and consequently increase our GDP.
So basically life will soon be an unending parade of joy and just when you reach your deathbed and are reminiscing about your fulfilling lifetime, retrospective tax will strangle the remaining life out of you.
I have been seeing multiple advertisements lately of the government's income declaration scheme, where once you declare your undisclosed income you are let go with a 45% tax penalty and no legal repercussions.
I simply love PM Narendra Modi's approach to this, which is really how all negotiations end in India -"Na teri, na meri. 45 per cent mein done karo (Neither yours, nor mine. Let's accommodate both in 45 per cent)". He has hit the nail really.
As Indians we love discounts, whether it's buying potatoes, negotiating with flight hijackers or declaring our undisclosed income.
Speaking of tax evasions, many Indians were rather disappointed that their name didn't feature in the Panama Papers leak.
After stashing millions abroad, the least you expect is some form of recognition for pulling off this feat.
In fact, I think they should go a step ahead and make it a weekend primetime show in India. Something like Kaun Banega Crorepati with a small twist.
A tax inspector will be the guest and a tax evader gets to be the host and instead of general knowledge questions, the taxman is challenged on some critical questions.
"Respected sir, where do you think I have parked my black money? You have four options:"1) Dubai2) Cayman island3) Liechtenstein4) Switzerland
Questions will get trickier as you progress.
"Respected sir, in your estimate, how many dummy companies do I run and in what proportion? Pick one:"1) Three local and five offshore companies2) Five local and three offshore companies
There you go Star Plus. I just gave you your next show concept for free.
With the rise of taxes over the years, kids have also started asking rather uncomfortable questions, such as "Did Daddy make it to the tax evaders list finally?"
Which is a fair question indeed, just like property advertisements emphasise, it's not parental love until they buy you a swanky sea facing apartment in a posh locality.
As a nation, besides speculating on stocks, another game that we do enjoy is betting on our neighbour's tax evasion.
So the moment we spot any remote signs of prosperity among our neighbours, subconsciously our mind has already started counting their black money.
"Oh! The guy who used to have cheap run-of-the-mill icecreams all these years is gorging on Baskin Robbins Chocolate Mousse Royale scoops nowadays. Bet he has stashed a few crores abroad."
Here's hoping that something good emerges out of the GST in April 2017. Else I am definitely opening a kathi roll shop in Liechtenstein. Farewell countrymen!