Simplification advantage of consumption tax? I keep hearing this debate, but it generally does not jive with my real life experience just. I’ve defended clients in tax, sales tax, and VAT audits. Undoubtedly, the sales tax and VAT have been the most challenging. In theory, a consumption tax need not be any longer complicated than an income tax, but that isn’t what I’ve observed in practice.
Here in Arizona, the state, county, city, and other government entities (like the airport authority) may each taxes the very same transaction differently. For instance, suppose I’ve client who has a hanger and rents use of the hanger (along with usage of technicians, etc.) to aircraft owners. 1x rental payment since it is a rental for release to the general public. 5x. How they developed the amount, I’ve no idea.
That’s just the sales tax issues from the building. The continuing state, county, city, and airport expert take conflicting positions on the equipment used inside the building. Unless a nationwide consumption taxes would require each state and local taxing expert to use the federal rules for determining the tax foundation, I believe you’d have an unworkable clutter.
I think the reason why the misconception of the simple administering the consumption tax is basically because the burden of conformity is borne almost completely by business. People don’t understand how many sales tax returns a business might be asked to file — the returns may be submitted monthly, weekly, or daily even, depending on quantity.
Some state governments require each location to document its own come back. Yes, a lot of the profits are now computerized, which makes it easy to document the returns. But the majority of the profits are incorrect. My brother-in-law makes a good living as a sales tax consultant. He documents amended returns for businesses and it is paid a percentage of the refund he creates. Walser is right that people cannot take simplification as a given; rather, it’ll rely on the details. The specifics are way beyond my expertise; my hunch is a sales-type consumption taxes would be significantly simpler for individuals and about the same (no worse) for businesses.
The complexity that Walser notes is already present in the current system — changing the income tax at the federal level with a VAT doesn’t necessarily simplify things, but neither will it necessarily complicate them. For his hypothetical, even under current law we have to find out whose income it is and how much. The point is, I take Walser’s point that intake taxes are NOT self-evidently simple, but beyond that I’ll defer to the experts. One final take note — possibly the simplest transition to a “consumption” tax would not involve a sales or VAT tax in any way. Rather, we’d keep carefully the current income tax and present everyone an unlimited deduction for savings.
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I don’t know if you guys notice this, but I seldom write about Television shows for the last month or two. Timeless: I saw the season finale. It was really good. You can find 16 episodes. I noticed it got 13 episodes and got a 3 show expansion. The finale solved all the problems and storylines, but there was still an opening for next season. If there is a season 2, It might be viewed by me.