Letter to the finance minister, from a salaried taxpayer


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Letter to the finance minister, from a salaried taxpayer

22 February 2010

Though they are the most loyal of tax payers, the government still discriminates against the salaried class. They are not allowed to cut their taxes, when other tax payers are allowed to do so freely. It is time to level the playing field . By Vivek Sharma
Dear Mr. Mukherjee,
As I have done for several years now, I am writing to the finance minster, yet again - this time it is you - to bring to your attention the grave injustices meted out to the most loyal of your taxpayers.
Though finance ministers do not readily acknowledge it, it is the salaried who pay all our taxes every month, in advance. We don't evade taxes - not that we wouldn't if we could, but you have already closed most of our avenues to succumb to the temptation.
But at the same time, your tax policies are highly discriminatory towards us. Since it is your constitutional duty not to discriminate between citizens, you should pay sympathetic attention to what I say below.
I live only 15km from my workplace and drive a small hatchback, one of the most fuel efficient available in the market. Even then, my average petrol expenses come to nearly Rs4,000 per month. Add the routine car maintenance, insurance, interest on the car loan and the value depreciation, I reckon my total cost of vehicle ownership will be no less than Rs10,000 every month. Against that, what is deductible from my taxable income as transport allowance is a mere Rs800 per month. That is insulting.
I wouldn't have complained if this is the case for all taxpayers. My brother-in-law, who owns a hole-in-the-wall mobile telephone retail store, drives a mid-size sedan. Alarmed by my wife's threats not to accompany me to family gatherings in our amoeba-sized car, I asked my brother-in-law how he could afford a big car. "Tax planning, my dear brother", he beamed.


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