Tax collection on the way up? Most probably not too far away. 

My close friend was telling me how inadequate she felt whenever she travels to China these days. Banknotes or even credit cards are not that useful anymore. It’s cashless even to ride a taxi for a short distance! We (Malaysia or ASEAN) should become a cashless society in the future. Probably even within my lifetime. Cashless also mean everything becomes electronic. When everything is electronic, it becomes transparent and TRACKABLE. You can run but you can;t hide comes into mind. When we pay for goods and services, it is traceable back to us. If we get paid for our services, it is also traceable back to us. Applicable even to HAWKERS as long as everyone starts using their smartphones as payment in the near future. For the tax authorities, this is a great incentive to help push the cashless mode forward. Of course with more Es, it means there is less need for employment of more people. Not so sure what will happen to new recruitment of tax officers in the future.

Anyway, there is this article in Straits Times about how the Singaporean tax authorities would be working with GRAB and UBER on automated tax filings for their drivers, 40,000 of them it seems. Hint.. Hint… What about Malaysia? There are already news about the tax officers sitting at some famous hawker stalls and counting the number of customers on a daily basis. No idea how true is this but then again, if the stall is really too famous, it’s hard to be missed. As for the interviews inside that article above, one of those interviewed were saying this, ‘I don’t think self employed people declare their full income.’ Singapore University of Social Sciences economist Walter Theseira said, “It’s only fair that people pay the same income taxes regardless of whether the money was earned through self-employment or wage employment.” That full article in Straits Times here. 

Perhaps the evolution of electronic payments would really uncover anyone and everyone trying not to pay taxes currently. If this it the case, the tax authorities may already be working closely with all these new technological partners. I really do look forward to reading about the final conclusion from the Singapore’s authorities on this. It may well be a model even for other advanced nations and ASEAN should this arrangement with both GRAB and UBER work well. New drivers thinking of GRAB and UBER may now have to consider this as well, in the future anyway. Yeah, this is part of the fintech story and this may even cause lots of disruptions with traditional lenders if they do not adapt well. This one would be another article in future. Cheers.

written on 17 Sept 2017

Next suggested article:  Even taxi licenses are over RM4 million



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