Anyone will surely find various tax issues, e.g. tax office, in his or her journey.
This photo essay with several pictures below are able to show us what tax could really mean in someone's journey and lessons we could learn.
-Siem Reap Tax Office
I was surprised to find this tax office, which is officially called Tax Branch, located in Siem Reap, not far from tourist area as it could be seen here. This tax office successfully reminded me of how Khmer kings managed to collect tax revenue used to finance the development of Angkor Wat.
I have no doubt that the tax ratio of Khmer Empire must have been relatively high otherwise the kings who built the magnificent complex of Angkor Wat would have no financial resources.
Unfortunately, the current tax ratio in present day Khmer nation, or Cambodia, is relatively low compared to other countries since it is still below 10 percents.
Could I say that the tax office in Khmer empire in its heyday in 12th century may have a special place within, or near, the king's palace or situated inside the empire's capital in Angkor Thom?
-Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri in Penang
The tax office in Penang was located near the Fort Cornwallis and next to Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower surprised me since it is situated in strategic area and reminded me of my tax liability.
Several things came into my mind after seeing the information about Namba Municipal Tax Office in MRT station in Osaka. Firstly, there were so many people came to visit this office so that a sign had to include the tax office. Secondly, tax office is, more or less, a kind of landmark therefore it is easy to find direction using tax office. Lastly, many people are already familiar with this office, as as result this office had to be shown on the map available in each MRT station in Japan.
Based on the website of this office, taxpayers could use this office to deal not only with national tax such as income tax but also municipal tax. This one-stop tax service is indeed really helpful for the taxpayers.
-Lhokseumawe Tax Office
This tax office located in Lhoksuemawe is one of hundreds of tax offices in Indonesia but, historically, this office could serve as remembrance of bloody conflict in Aceh province and how the peace agreement managed to end the conflict. The previous office for Lhokseumawe was destroyed during the conflict therefore this office had to be built.
As reported here during conflict, Aceh people were required by the separatist movement to pay pajak nanggroe that was used as financial support for separatist group but this "special tax" was ended after the peace agreement was signed.
What could I learn?
I do learn several things:
- Tax ratio is indeed important hence it is quite relevant that government tries to improve tax ratio and even though ancient kingdoms had different term for tax ratio, any king or leader will not be able to get financial support for development without adequate tax ratio.
- Tax office may serve as landmark since it is a place that many people need to visit.
- In any conflict, there could be double taxation when people have to pay special tax, other than any tax imposed by the government. Peace is indeed crucial for effective tax collection and what happened in Aceh is an obvious example.