PIDE had organized a conference “Shifting the Paradigm on Tax Policy and Administration: A Policy for 21st Century” on March 11, 2020 in the Policy Capital of Pakistan. The conference aims to unbundle the taxation system of Pakistan for critical reforms by considering key questions: What is wrong with our Tax Policy? Why can’t we fix it? Tariffs for Trade or Revenue? Technology, administration and documentation trio to improve tax collection and tax policy certainty? Renowned national and international experts will address these questions and put forth solutions. As a prelude to the debate and answering these questions, we need to understand why taxes are needed in the first place. Certainly we don’t like them. The simple answer is that taxes are the only way to generate revenues for financing public spending on goods and services. One can also question why do we need to spend in the first place, but let’s put that aside for now. We know the government spends and taxes are needed to finance it since there are not many sources of finance other than that. An ideal taxation system would generate sufficient revenue to meet the needs of the government without discouraging economic activity.