Editor’s note: “Taxation With Repression and the Raging Quiet Riot in Ethiopia” is first published on Almariam blog on July 30, 2015. This is the first part. Second part is not yet published.
James Otis, an early instigator of the American revolution, captured the rebellious sentiments and resentments of the colonists when he proclaimed, “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”
In 1765, Otis organized an intercolonial conference to protest taxes on stamps affixed to legal and other documents in the colonies. That convention issued a Resolution declaring: “That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no taxes be imposed on them, but with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives.” Britain initially ignored the boycotts of British imports and other financial pressure from the colonists but repealed the Stamp Act in March 1776. By July that year, the colonists had declared independence and were well on their way to overthrow the tyranny of British colonial rule.
Today, the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF), which controls 100 percent of the “Ethiopian parliament” and rules by a draconian state of emergency decree, is imposing outrageous and onerous taxes on the people of Ethiopia.
That is not only taxation without representation; it taxation with repression!
Over the past year, the people of Ethiopia have engaged in massive acts of civil resistance to the minority black apartheid T-TPLF rule.
In response, the apartheid T-TPLF regime imposed a “state of emergency” decree giving itself the arbitrary power to engage in extrajudicial killings, mass and indiscriminate detentions, warrantless searches and seizures and total suppression of mass media including the internet.
The apartheid T-TPLF regime runs a police state in Ethiopia and is now demanding outrageous taxes from the people of Ethiopia to finance that police state. Talk about adding insult to injury!
But the T-TPLF’s guns and tanks have not been able to suppress the quiet riot that is raging throughout Ethiopia every day.
The quite riot began nearly two years ago. The T-TPLF tried to suppress it with a state of emergency decree.
Two weeks ago, the quiet riot exploded in massive acts of civil when the T-TPLF unleashed its swarm of corrupt and predatory tax collectors to prey on the population in every hamlet, town and city.
The people of Ethiopia defiantly refused to pay shakedown taxes to the T-TPLF regime. They closed their shops and returned their business licenses telling the T-TPLF to shove it where the sun don’t shine.
As the T-TPLF trained its guns on the people, they stood their ground and defiantly declared, “No taxation without representation!”
The anti-tax movement against the T-TPLF is spreading throughout the country like wild fire at this very moment.
Can there be taxation with brutal repression?
Can there be taxation without representation?
The black minority apartheid TPLF regime controls every seat in the “Ethiopian parliament.”
In the May 2015 “election”, the minority T-TPLF regime claimed to have “won” 100 percent of the seats in “parliament”.
In 2010, the minority T-TPLF claimed to have “won” 99.6 percent of the seats in “parliament”.
But that is not all!
The minority apartheid TPLF regime owns 100 percent of the land in Ethiopia.
The minority apartheid TPLF regime owns 100 percent of the top military leadership positions in Ethiopia.
The minority apartheid TPLF regime owns 100 percent of the top businesses in Ethiopia.
The minority apartheid TPLF regime owns 100 percent of the top civil service jobs and political appointments in Ethiopia.
The minority apartheid T-TPLF regime is now imposing outrageous taxes on small business owners who barely eke out a living on just a few dollars a day.
It is not enough for the T-TPLF to empty the nation’s treasury through corruption, fraud, abuse and waste. Now they have the audacity to tax out of existence small businesses that operate on a shoe string and dirt poor street vendors!
The T-TPLF’s “presumptive tax assessment” (PTA) scam and con game
The T-TPLF scheme to scam shoestring small business owners and dirt poor street vendors is based on something called “presumptive tax assessment”.
Simply stated, the T-TPLF’s “presumptive tax assessment” system allows the T-TPLF tax collector to walk into a shop or store, look around for a minute of two and pull a hefty tax figure from an area of his body very close to his back pant’s pocket and slap it on the face of the struggling shopkeeper/store owner.
Of course, if the storekeeper is willing to pay the tax collector a hefty bribe, things could change.
Addis Fortune quoting one shopkeeper in Addis Ababa reported, “Bilal used to pay an annual business profit tax of 1,000 Br based on the old income tax proclamation, which was an obligation for Level-C taxpayers with an estimated annual revenue of up to 100,000 Br. However, this snowballed yearly to one million Birr.” (Emphasis added.)
Before starting his tiny shop, Bilal was a street vendor.
A tearful and distraught Bilal consoled himself: “I was about to lose my mind. But, when I realised that nearly all the traders here felt the same, I calmed down a bit.”
Capital Ethiopia, a “weekly business paper” reported on a business owner who was “paying 12,000 birr a year in taxes. However after the current  assessment the amount went up 14 times that amount to 168,000 per year.”
The T-TPLF’s “presumptive tax assessment” aims to collect “more than 25 billion Br in tax from Addis Abeba for the new fiscal year.” It expects billions more from the rest of the country!
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), “presumptive taxation involves the use of indirect means to ascertain tax liability.”
There are several versions of the PTA. It is not clear which PTA model the T-TPLF is using. It appears to be the “mechanical” type “used in place of a more open-ended rule based on the facts and circumstances of each case.” Simply stated, the “mechanical” type is where T-TPLF tax assessors pull figures from an area of their body close to the back pockets of their pants.
I will bet my bottom dollar that none of the T-TPLF ignoramuses have a clue what PTA is.
Like everything else, the T-TPLF ignoramuses believe they can get away with parroting words and phrases about “presumptive tax assessment”, “double-digit growth” and other fairy tales about development. What can be expected from those who barely finished grade school and bought their graduate degrees from online diploma mills or sport fake degrees from Oxford University?