The words Black Tax are strong enough to drain the energy for many. The moment you get a credit text, the number of Black Tax obligations immediately takes all the joy out of everything. But what is Black Tax, and what are its implications?
Look no further for an answer. If ever there was anyone to talk to us about Black Tax, it has to be Nonhlanhla Nyathi. You might know her as Tax Bae. Nonhlanhla is the founder of Entrepreneurs Tax Guide, a startup aimed at helping startups and small businesses practice sound tax practices.
What’s your understanding of black tax, a working definition?
Driven by a culture of Ubuntu, our people are known to take care of each other including our extended families. Black tax is essentially a price paid by a family member who is the breadwinner or one who is more well-off than the rest.
Should black tax be considered a “tax”?
Tax is a compulsory payment. Can we classify black tax as compulsory? Yes, to some extent it is. In the absence of social services like foster care and culture detecting that families stay together, for example, it’s unAfrican to take your elderly relatives to a retirement home, the burden falls on you to take care of them as compared to the Social Services system running front on such initiatives.
Is anyone entitled to black tax?
Definitely not! Black tax is paid out of the goodness of your heart even though it is informed by circumstances.
How do you draw boundaries so you are not “abused” or taken advantage of?
Have a budget off your monthly income for black tax. Once that is exhausted, politely tell your people that they will have to wait for next month as you now don’t have any funds to assist them.
Does evading black tax make you a bad person?
It doesn’t. I have seen our generation resolving not to be derailed by black tax. Some say they resolved not to stay with extended family so their children will not suffer as they did. If you really look at it, it’s the children that suffer. For example, if you drink, you’re not going to reduce your drinking budget but now if you need to buy ice cream for 5 children instead of two, it becomes a luxury. It is our kids who miss out so there should be a balance.
The notion that it takes a village to raise a child is probably the Ubuntu that will make it almost impossible to evade black tax. But you can plan and make sure that after all is said and done, you’re still able to go ahead with your own plans.
By: Thandi Nyoni