The number of my employers is increasing all the time. That means that the number of hours that I work each day is increasing continuously. Unfortunately, the increased time spent is not reflected in increased taxable income. That’s just how it is and I don’t expect it to get any better. I even expect that that’s how it’ll continue and that my free-time, where I can really do what I feel like, will become an exception.
It started a couple of years ago, somehow harmlessly, but the speed and volume with which it increased is just astonishing.
I work for the airlines that I travel with. I do my own check-in and print my own baggage tags. My plane ticket costs just as much as when I check-in at the counter and receive the tags from the person there. I also work for retailers. I scan all my products at the self-checkout and pay dutifully.
There too my purchase costs the same as when I go to the person at the counter that scans my products and I pay them. I don’t even receive more points for my customer account even though I save the merchant many costs.
I arrange many of my appointments online. Whether it’s for a tyre change, a pedicure, the parents-teacher discussion or a table reservation at a restaurant. No nice voice that says “thanks”. Only a tick on a registration form and a booking confirmation. There too the costs for the services are the same as when I book the appointments over the phone.
I’ve been buying the tickets for the train for a long time via the app. Even though they cost the same amount as the ones at the train counter. I’ve never liked the counters because using them requires a type of intelligence that I unfortunately do not fully have.
The bank doesn’t send the statements via post any more, they only provide them electronically. The tax authorities however, still expect the bank statements in paper format. That means I need to print them, pack them up and post them. If there is no bank secret (yes, I know we still have it within the country) then why don’t the tax authorities themselves not have access to those statements.
By the way I work quite a lot for the tax authorities and social system as an unpaid employee. I request the extension because I know I simply won’t manage to finish it in order to hand in the declaration by the end of March. I create my tax return, do my withholding tax accounting for my wonderful cleaning lady and I check the estimates, the provisional as well as final bills for the cantonal, federal tax and withholding tax. I am happy to respond to all requests of all offices and to hand in all desired documents in paper format. I also do the AHV, accident insurance and daily benefits insurance, mutations and payments for my cleaning lady. I check the water consumption and let the local authority know in a timely manner. I let the registration office know about all changes at our home. I also answer all surveys that I receive from the federation. They can be up to five pages long. I don’t do it because I enjoy it but because I’m being threatened with penalties if I don’t do it. I request a new passport and ID (because the old one has run out) and am happy to enter all my details again, even though they are already in the old documents. Regardless, I still have to pay for the passport.
And that isn’t everything. Now I can start talking about all the foreign providers. About Google, Spotify, Netflix, Uber, Amazon whom I give all my data to. The question is whether it matches the value that I get in return or whether it exceeds it.
What does it mean when I create free of charge value for so many different employers? Who actually has a right on those values and where should those values be taxed? I as an indirect tax expert ask myself whether my employers who do not give me any holidays and no social benefits shouldn’t actually pay VAT with regards to those services.
It isn’t foreseen under the current tax system. Or is it about barter transactions that under today’s tax system actually lead to a value increase of the services that I receive and I myself get financially punished for my work.
The values that I and all of us together create should not only be part of the gross national product but also add to tax revenue. I look forward to the revolutionary approaches in this area in the future it won’t however much affect the shrinking of my leisure time.
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