taxation principles

  

Definition

Basic concepts by which a government is meant to be guided in designing and implementing an equitable taxation regime. These include: (1) Adequacy: taxes should be just-enough to generate revenue required for provision of essential public services. (2) Broad Basing: taxes should be spread over as wide as possible section of the population, or sectors of economy, to minimize the individual tax burden. (3) Compatibility: taxes should be coordinated to ensure tax neutrality and overall objectives of good governance. (4) Convenience: taxes should be enforced in a manner that facilitates voluntary compliance to the maximum extent possible. (5) Earmarking: tax revenue from a specific source should be dedicated to a specific purpose only when there is a direct cost-and-benefit link between the tax source and the expenditure, such as use of motor fuel tax for road maintenance. (6) Efficiency: tax collection efforts should not cost an inordinately high percentage of tax revenues. (7) Equity: taxes should equally burden all individuals or entities in similar economic circumstances. (8) Neutrality: taxes should not favor any one group or sector over another, and should not be designed to interfere-with or influence individual decisions-making. (9) Predictability: collection of taxes should reinforce their inevitability and regularity. (10) Restricted exemptions: tax exemptions must only be for specific purposes (such as to encourage investment) and for a limited period. (11) Simplicity: tax assessment and determination should be easy to understand by an average taxpayer.

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