Muslims, Pay for Zakat or Tax?

Zakat and tax are both obligations that must be fulfilled by Muslims as well as citizens. The two obligations do not invalidate each other.

Zakat education.
Illustration. Pay for zakat or tax? (ACTNews)

ACTNews, SOUTH JAKARTA – In this current situation, Muslims seem to have two burdens regarding their status both as Muslims and citizens. As Muslims, they are obliged to pay zakat while on the other hand, they also require to pay tax as Indonesian citizens.

Some people thought that if they have performed zakat then they no longer need to pay tax. On the other hand, there are also some people who thought when they have paid tax, they are no longer obliged to pay zakat.

Based on the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs in a book titled “Panduan Zakat Praktis” (Practical Zakat Guidance), the ulemas agree that it is the right of the state to oblige its citizens to pay tax. Meanwhile, zakat also remains obligatory as a religious consequence. Both are equally important.

As explained by the Ministry of Religious Affairs that the obligation to issue zakat depends on the assets of the Muzakki (zakat payers) after being deducted for tax. If the property shows the same or more than the nisab (a minimum amount of wealth which determines one’s ability to pay zakat) then they must pay zakat and if the property shows a number less than the nisab then it is not obligated to pay zakat.

For example, a trader has a profit of IDR 25 million. Meanwhile, he has to pay tax to the government for IDR 5 million. Therefore, the amount of zakat he has to pay is 2.5% from IDR 20 million.

According to KH Ibrahim Hosen, Chairman of the Fatwa Commission of the MUI, zakat and tax in Islam are both obligatory which aim to collect funds needed for the benefits and welfare of the community.

“The difference is only in terms of legal determination. Zakat is determined based on religion (shari’a) through the verses of the Qur'an and the Prophet's Hadith, while the tax obligation is based on determination or ijtihad by ulil amri (government). The opinion of the majority of ulemas states that both must be fulfilled. One obligation does not invalidate the other obligation,” said KH Ibrahim Hosen quoted from Baznas Yogyakarta.

Chairman of MUI from the period of 1984 to 1990, KH Hasan Basri emphasized that zakat has specificities, namely from Muslims, by Muslims, and for Muslims. It's different with tax that has a wider range and reach both in terms of sources and utilization. []