Shoulder your civic responsibility as an expat and pay your taxes

Aug 18, 2019 | 39 comments

According to Quora Digest, the southern hemisphere houses 12.2% of the world’s population. I was aware of this prior to moving to Ecuador; it was one of several determining factors​ that propelled my decision to move here​. When I arrived, I quickly learned that the city of Cuenca ideally suited my needs in several important ways. It has a strong cultural identity, is committing to sustainable development, and supports a thriving environment for the arts and education.

These are all elemental values for a robust and creative community to thrive and mature.  However, it is the embracing manner of the people that sets this place apart  —  these kind and accepting people opened their hearts and welcomed us to live among them, as neighbors and friends, for as long as our heart desires.

Our debt of gratitude needs to be more than a smile. It is time we return at least a small measure of the generosity granted us.

It is time for all expats, including those over 65, to start paying the IVA tax. This is the most basic way to take responsibility for our use of the many generous benefits we all receive.

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I am truly flabbergasted that immigrants from countries known to champion democracy and exceptionalism would demand all they can get without the slightest inclination to pull at least a fraction of their own weight. Now, I’m not talking to the impoverished economic refugees — no one is faulting you bur taking your refund — but those who can afford to contribute their fair share by allowing the IVA to remain in the treasury.

We owe the good people of Ecuador much more than our presence. There is no reason for them to carry us on their backs.

The screeching of people demanding tax exemptions over quieter, more thoughtful consideration is a stain on civil, if not moral behavior. Ecuador is our home and needs our support to maintain the infrastructure we use every day, and to build the innovations that will improve our lives in the future.

So, what’s with the bellyaching?

To be a taxpayer is something to be proud of. It is evidence that one is a responsible, contributing, and upstanding member of society, a person worthy of respect in the community and representation in the government.

We must avoid the impulse of our North American neighbors who live only for today,  plundering for their own ease and convenience without regard to refurbishing or renewal. The societal consequences of their aversion to paying taxes have had devastating consequences across all segments of their society and have led to a diminished quality of life and the disintegration of essential infrastructures. Adding to the gluttonous shame is a much deeper condition that defies even the most basic understanding of humane stewardship; a growing number of public utilities are no longer capable of guaranteeing safe drinking water for their communities due to ignored maintenance and underfunded public works projects.

A properly funded government in which every resident lends a hand is essential for building the tools to the future —  and to attempt to mitigate the catastrophic damage done by those so consumed with their monetary fiefdom that they wield a wrecking ball to the environment.

“When a man pays a tax, he knows that the public necessity requires it, and therefore feels a pride in discharging his duty.” 

― Thomas Paine,

Voluntarily paying our IVA tax — and then not demanding a refund — is the principled thing to do. Not only does it help to provide for the many benefits we receive, it is investing in the future and for generations to come; it is what we must do if we do not want our new found home, so plump with opportunity and optimism, to become another impecunious banana republic

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