Zakat and Taxes


Can the tax we pay be considered part of our Zakat?


That would be quite convenient, wouldn't it!
If people followed this understanding, very few people would pay any Zakat at all. Taxes are not part of the Zakat for a number of reasons:

The Zakat is a payment that is set by God, while taxes are payments set by the various governments.

The recipients of the Zakat as per God's law are quite different from the recipients of the income tax.
The recipients of the Zakat are: "the parents, the close ones, the orphans, the needy and the homeless." 2:215
The recipient of the tax is the treasury of the country.

The Zakat is a payment that is given by the people, while the tax is a payment that is taken from people:

The good-doers who
observe the Salat, give the Zakat, and who are certain of the Hereafter. Those are upon guidance from their Lord, and it is they who are the successful ones. 31:4-5

The words
"give the Zakat" confirm that Zakat, even though is mandatory in God's law, yet it is not enforced on the people. The sincere believers who seek the Hereafter will pay it willingly, while others may choose not to pay it.
The payment of taxes is quite different. Although taxes are also mandatory in nature yet, unlike the Zakat, people do not have a choice as to whether they pay it or not. In the majority of cases, taxes are deducted before people receive their income.

4- The Zakat is a payment that is given willingly out of people's net income (after all expenses and deductions). On the other hand, taxes are calculated and taken out of people's gross income (before any deductions).

The punishment for not paying the Zakat lies with God in the Hereafter, while the punishment for tax evasion is administered by the courts of the land.

Finally, the payment of the Zakat grants the believers a great reward from God. In contrast, no one will be granted a place in Paradise because he paid his taxes.
The following Quranic words confirm the great reward of God's mercy that is granted to those who give the Zakat:

My punishment shall strike whomever I please and
My mercy encompasses all things, and so I shall decree it for those who are reverent, give the Zakat and those who believe in Our revelations. 7:156

For all the above differences, the tax we pay is not, and should not be, considered part of our Zakat.