Why I like paying taxes

Good Sunday morning everyone,

Around this time of year, many of us will be preparing our tax returns and going through the tedium of collecting information so that our governments can get a piece of our action. And one of the things I genuinely love about tax-time is reminding myself of why it is a privilege to pay them.

You see, so much of the conversation around taxation focuses on how much the government is “taking” and what a “burden” it is to pay them. And while I’m not suggesting we blindly throw money at our national treasuries – we should be smart about how we save, invest, and protect what we earn – let’s also not forget about the other half of what accompanies our paying taxes: how much we get in return. 

Because taxes fund infrastructure, free public schools, road networks and upkeep, military defense and deterrence, space exploration, democracy, rule of law, garbage collection, public libraries, free museums, scientific research, human advancement and so, so many big and small things that enable our individual and collective success (and create safe and predictable conditions for businesses to flourish too – Amazon and Google, that means you too!), and that we too often take for granted because we can.

We take for granted the basic functioning of society, that laws won’t change on a whim (or without a process that we can participate in), that our wealth and personal security are guaranteed. We take for granted that wealth isn’t a pre-requisite for access to education, that social safety nets exist (even if there are holes in those nets), and that are streets aren’t teeming with those who fall on tough times. We take for granted that our borders are safe, that our civil rights are largely intact, and our food supplies are stable.

All of those things that we take for granted, that we don’t have to think about, are things that billions of people around the world have to fight for every single day. 

So when it comes time to pay my taxes, I’m glad I get to do so. I might not like how much I have to pay, but that’s not relevant when measured against what I get in return.

In my own small way I am paying for democracy, liberalism, freedom of expression, and so many of the values I hold dear. That we all hold dear.

And that is worth paying for.

xx Rupal

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About Me
Rupal Patel logo
The daughter of Indian immigrants, Rupal is a born-and-bred New Yorker now living near London. Her high-octane career as a CIA officer turned serial entrepreneur has taken her from military briefing rooms in jungles and war zones to corporate boardrooms and international stages.

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