Ya latif el lutf! zakat is now a government imposed tax?
Zakat is not a state tax! it is to be freely given to the poor, not imposed by the state by practising Muslims.
Your assumption is incorrect. Zakat is a tax imposed by the Muslim state. With the expansion of Islam into non-Muslim nations the tax is not imposed by the government of said nations; rather, the Muslims themselves tend to give this voluntarily. The Qur’an is clear that the Zakat is an absolute obligation upon the Muslims:
…And establish Sala’h and pay Zaka’h and bow [to the Lord, submitting to His decision] with those, who have bowed [in surrender to Him]. -Al Baqarah 2:43
In the words of Abu Bakr (ra):
By Allah! I will fight whoever differentiates between salat and zakat , for zakat is a lawful right upon the property! -Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 23, Number 483
The adamant words of Abu Bakr are clearly not in reference to a voluntary act of giving; rather, it is the very pillar of Islam. There are other methods of being charitable in Islam; one of which can be referred to as Sadaqa (charity). Nevertheless, that is not an obligation. From the point of view of Islam, both Salat (prayer) and Zakat are the same and both may be enforced in a Muslim state.
I hope this helps.
God knows best.