Taxing education

We never would have imagined how our lives would end up depending so much on digital connectivity and the Internet. Covid and its consequent restrictions have made it necessary for everyone to be digitally online if they’d like to continue working/studying. I am a student at university and have no income of my own.

A lot of my classes, lectures, and group study happen online, and with the frequent loadshedding and electricity issues, I have to more often than not rely on phone and data services to stay connected. However, I am barely able to afford a decent data package for myself that can suffice for my needs. While data packages are usually affordable, the taxes deducted on the SIM balance reload takes away a huge chunk of my little budget.

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Being a student with no income of my own, why am I being forced to even pay this Advance Income Tax of 15 percent every time I reload the balance? Digital connectivity is now an essential service, not a luxury. Low-income people, many of whom live in rural areas, are not eligible for taxes, and yet they are taxed for this basic service. We have a new set of policymakers now, and I appeal to them to please look into this and help revoke these unreasonable taxes being imposed on the common man in the form of telecom taxes.

NABEEL AHMED

LAHORE

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