By James Jack
Two friends discuss the pros and cons of paying taxes. (Note: GST is a goods and services tax levied in Australia and New Zealand - it is similar to England's VAT, or the US sales tax. A Joe Cocker song was used by the Australian government in television advertisements promoting its introduction.)
(Two friends are talking in a pub, or similar. The play may be best done in over-the-top style.)
Cecil: Nearing the end of the financial year again, Bob. It'll take me forever to do my tax return this time, especially with the GST to prepare for!
Bob: Everyone seems to be whinging about tax at the moment, Cecil. It's surprising, really. I thought everyone's heart would have been put at ease by Joe Cocker's lovely tune?!
Cecil: (chuckles) Oh, it's not that. It's just these stupid returns. I'll spend hours and hours and still not think of everything. Don't get me wrong, though. Tax is really important.
Bob: How so?
Cecil: I suppose it's how we make a contribution to society, isn't it? How we do our bit to make this country of ours great.
Bob: You sound like a right politician, Cecil. And almost as hollow. Nationalism has never been your strong point, has it?
Cecil: (momentarily taken aback, then laughs.) Well, I heard some bloke on the radio say it: but you know what I mean. Lots of people complain about taxes, but it's something that everyone should be paying.
Bob: Obviously. My wife was in hospital last week and it was taxes which paid for her treatment. ( pause) Just like it was taxes which paid for those ads she got to watch on TV while she was there! Of course it's worthwhile.
Cecil: Yeah. Roads, schools, hospitals: we need to pay for them with our taxes. I can't stand those tax cheats. You know, the cash economy, people not declaring their proper income. Kerry Packer paying a measly couple of hundred bucks! I'd reckon there's something shonky going on there. They've gotta obey the law like the rest of us.
Bob: It seems that it's just who can afford the flashiest accountant.
Cecil: My oath, Bob! As I said, I do mine myself. It's a nightmare. I'm sure if I had Kerry's accountant, I could find masses of extra things to claim. You know, put things in the kid's names, trusts, negative gearing. All above board, of course. A good accountant is someone who knows the law and follows it. None of this non-declaration stuff.
Bob: You want to pay what you have to, but not any more. Is that what you're saying.
Cecil: That's exactly what I'm saying, Bob. I mean, the law's the law, and we've should follow it. And that includes being able to do claim back on our tax returns what we can legitimately claim.
Bob: Funny that.
Bob: Well, I was just thinking about taxes, about the roads, the schools, the hospitals.
Bob: I think you'd make a really top politician, Cecil. (Bob gets up to leave.) Seeya, mate.
(Cecil sits a moment longer with a puzzled expression, not sure whether to be offended or not. Then he gets up and leaves.)
© Copyright James Jack 2000, all rights reserved.
This play may be performed free of charge, provided no admittance charge is made. In return, the author would appreciate receiving notification of any performance. He may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org