Legal & Taxation

The procedure whereby charges are imposed on individuals or property by the legislative branch of the federal government and by many state governments to raise funds for public purposes.

The theory that underlies taxation is that charges are imposed to support the government in exchange for the general advantages and protection afforded by the government to the taxpayer and his or her property. The existence of government is a necessity that cannot continue without financial means to pay its expenses; therefore, the government has the right to compel all citizens and property within its limits to share its costs. The state and federal governments both have the power to impose taxes upon their citizens.

Kinds of Taxes

Excise Tax

Excise Tax An excise tax is directly imposed by the law-making body of a government on merchandise, products, or certain types of transactions, including carrying on a profession or business, obtaining a license, or transferring property. It is a fixed and absolute charge that does not depend upon the taxpayer's financial status or the value that the taxed property has to the taxpayer.

An estate tax is a tax that is placed on, and paid by, the estate of a decedent prior to the distribution of the property among the heirs in exchange for the privilege of transferring the property. Individuals who inherit property may be required to pay an inheritance tax on the value of the particular property received. Gift taxes are incurred by an individual who gives another a valuable gift.

Another type of excise tax is a sales tax, which is placed on certain goods and services. Precisely what goods and services are taxed is determined by the individual state legislatures. In some instances, a sales tax placed upon expensive items that are considered luxuries is known as a luxury tax.

A corporate tax is an excise tax imposed upon the privilege of conducting business in the corporate capacity, which provides certain advantages to individuals, such as limited liability. It is measured by the income of the corporation involved.

Other common examples of excise taxes are those imposed upon the processing of meat, tobacco, cheese, and sugar.

Property Tax

Property Tax a property tax takes the taxpayer's wealth into account, as represented by the taxpayer's income or the property he or she owns. Income Tax, for example, is a property tax that is assessed and levied upon the taxpayer's income; property taxes are imposed mainly on real property.

Direct and Indirect Taxes are also classified as direct and indirect. A direct tax is one that is assessed upon the property, business, or income of the individual who is to pay the tax. Conversely indirect taxes are taxes that are levied upon commodities before they reach the consumer who ultimately pays the taxes as part of the market price of the commodity. A common example of an indirect tax is a value-added tax, which is paid on the value added to the product at each stage of production, distribution, and sales.

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