A scholar states the following:-
Zakaah can be collected only by islami state. In absence of Islamic state, responsibility of paying zakaah cannot be discharged in any way. So now-a days, in anyone pays Zakaah, he will get the sawab of Sadaqah only, not of Zakaah. Nay, the present Zakaah collecting authorities are bogus as they have no right to do it. He narrates the following Hadith in support of his saying –
مسلم بن يسار قال: كان أبو عبد الله رجل من الصحابة يقول: الزكاة والحدود والفيء والجمعة إلى السلطان
Muslim ibn Yasār said: Abū ‘Abdillāh, a man from the Sahābah, would say: Zakāt, Hudūd, Fay’ (spoils) and Jumu‘ah are (consigned) to the Sultān.Please Judge his saying as per Shariah
In the name of Allah the most Gracious the most Merciful
The answer to your question is as follows:
Perhaps the person is aware only about this certain aspect; he is probably not aware about all details. Paying Zakat to the deserving ones is allowed even without any government system being in place. The Hadith says: Zakat will be collected from rich Muslims and returned to the poor ones.
And Allah knows best
Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband
This answer was collected from the official website of Darul Uloom Deoband Waqf. The institution is based in India and the answers are provided in accordance to the Hanafi Fiqh.