Love, laughter and lonely clouds have inspired poets the world over. Now Taiwan wants people to find lyrical inspiration in a subject that is also close to the heart — taxes.
The Ministry of Finance has launched a competition for Taiwanese to write verse about initiatives aimed at making it easier to file taxes. Topics include such gems as the uniform invoice redemption app, the Taxpayer Rights Protection Act (納稅者權利保護法) and tax refunds on energy-saving appliances and the replacement of used vehicles.
The competition has inspired budding bards — and humorists — to channel the likes of William Carlos Williams on Twitter.
To be sure, taxes have inspired plenty of lyrics in the past.
“The tax man’s taken all my dough, and left me in my stately home,” the Kinks sang in Sunny Afternoon.
Thomas Jefferson also was not a fan, according to the hit musical Hamilton: “Look, when Britain taxed our tea, we got frisky. Imagine what gon’ happen when you try to tax our whisky.”
The UK’s former poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy penned 22 Reasons for the Bedroom Tax in 2013.
Taiwan said the poems must be no more than 10 lines in length and must be submitted in Chinese and English. Only Taiwanese citizens can enter, and the winner is to be announced at the end of August, receiving NT$18,000 in cash.
However, a tax collector will be coming to take back some of that money — it must be declared as income when filing next year.
One reason for the competition could be Taiwan’s relatively flat tax revenues since 2018, even as the economy boomed from surging global demand for semiconductors.
Tax revenue was equal to 12.1 percent of Taiwan’s GDP in 2020, ministry data showed.
That is significantly lower than most other developed economies, and less than the global average of 14.9 percent, World Bank data showed.
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