8/25/2013
This is where your taxes go

At the risk of sounding like a glutton, I decided to make a quick list of all the things I bought over the past eight days, and specifically count how much tax I paid on those eight days.

Sunday. This was the day of the Lindsey Stirling concert. I ended up going there at eleven in the morning, only to wait seven hours for the concert to start. (The things you do to get a relatively good seat, knowing you have a very crappy camera.)

I ended up buying a book, partly to while the time. Another David Sedaris book. P512, since there was a sale going on that day. As we are a signatory of some international convention (I forgot which) that blocks the imposition of taxes on books, among others, there was no tax paid on it.

I read that book over lunch at CBTL. A P155 drink plus a P235 pasta dish (I could've spent less) results in P46.80 of VAT paid.

I'm pretty sure the Lindsey Stirling CD I bought to get a seat isn't counted as a "book" that can't be taxed, so that's P59.40 in VAT.

For dinner I bought some stuff from BreadTalk. That's P10.80 in VAT. Also, my mom wanted me to buy a dozen doughnuts from Krispy Kreme. Surprisingly cheaper than I remembered, or perhaps it's because they're up against shit competition. P48 in VAT.

It was raining hard that Sunday, and it got worse on Monday, which explains why this oddly cute tweet exists - and, also, why I didn't get to spend much. Rainy couldn't go home and ended up in my place (thanks to an errant bus) so we had siopao at the convenience store nearby. That's P10.80 in VAT. The following day we were sort of running out of food; I had lunch out of instant noodles and terrible siomai. That's P4.92 in VAT. The following day, they finally had canned corned beef in stock. Two cans, P10.56 in VAT.

I spent a lot on Thursday back at work. Am I stress eating again? I had a pretty heavy lunch, a meatball sub where I lost control of my urges. That's P33.60 in VAT. Bought new earphones, because the old ones were failing. Surely there's a tax there, too. P12.60, in that case.

I went to a meeting at Bonifacio High Street that night (yes, I have night meetings now, apparently) which means I ended up spending for another one of those non-coffee blended drinks at Figaro. (My first time back there since, you know.) P18 in VAT. I got a muffin from Krispy Kreme (again) before going home, as a sort of dinner. P5.40 in VAT.

I had a late lunch at Jollibee on Friday, partly because I had a midmorning snack. My eating is irregular again, and so are my spending habits. P3 in VAT. The Jollibee thing is P18.96 in VAT, and I don't even win a trip to Singapore while I'm at it.

Today, I spent a hell lot, although a huge chunk of it went to my credit card. I bought a new pair of glasses. Are those taxed too? They're technically medical items, right? Anyway, let's say it is. P972 in VAT. My lunch cost P33.48 in VAT. (I should really stop eating in relatively high-end places. To hell with my cravings.) I had my haircut and (yes) a manicure and (yes) a foot spa. Are they taxed too? P105.60 if so. My groceries definitely are taxed. P22.08 in VAT.

So, unless my math is terrible - in which case I have essentially humiliated myself - in the past eight days I paid up to P1,416 in VAT. And that's just the taxes I directly paid for. (Except for the bit on my credit card. That comes later.) I paid for cabs during my Thursday night meeting. The fees those drivers pay go to the government too, somehow. I didn't pay tax for my David Sedaris book, but the bookstore surely pays the government in business fees and whatnot. Same with the barber I tipped. In fact, the money I paid everyone those past few days, it's still used to pay for taxes. Again, business permits and sanitary permits and withholding tax for their employees.

My withholding tax this past pay day is roughly two thousand bucks.

This is where your pork barrel comes from. As it turns out, they're used mostly to make overpriced signs that say "this is where your taxes go" beside a substandard soft project.

And your responses...

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