Consumption Tax

What is a Consumption Tax?

Consumption tax is the tax levied on spending by the consumer for purchasing products or services. It is a type of indirect tax which is paid by the consumer along with the cost of the product at the time of purchase.

Explanation

Consumption Tax

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Features

  • Each individual who is paying a consumption tax will get a certain amount of exemption and deductions. It is to benefit the poor who have lower consumption power, and they don’t have to pay the taxes.
  • Individuals eligible to pay taxes will not get any sort of deductions as they can save, and these savings would have been already subjected to deductions.
  • The tax payee will be getting exemption from tax on all the incomes placed via investments as the consumption tax only taxes the amount spent or consumption made.
  • Under this, people are taxed based on their consumption patterns and how much they consume instead of how much they contribute to the economy.

How does it Work?

  • It is a concept from the west slowly making its way in the east. The vendor will collect these taxed from the consumer by charging a higher retail price for the product or service. This tax rate is different for different products. It is less for basic necessity products, and the percentage is higher for luxury products and services.
  • The idea is to help the poor who cannot pay taxes or higher retail prices. The accumulated higher taxes from the luxury products are nullified against the lower tax rates on basic products. It will not only benefit the needy but also make sure the government is collecting the same amount of tax. The overall gist is that it favors the savers and taxes the spenders.

Example

  • It has to be seen from the economy’s point of view. The government will have to collect the appropriate tax from its consumers. While designing the tax rates for each product type, it has to make sure it doesn’t burden or hamper the purchasing power of the consumers.
  • Likewise, basic necessity products are taxed less, and this compensated by taxing luxury products is a higher rate. Suppose a consumer wants to buy a sports car, the car is levied a hefty luxury tax and higher registration amount. In the same economy, if a below poverty line consumer wants to buy his daily needs, the tax is relatively lower.
  • No doubt, if the consumer buying the car will also get his daily needs at the same price but would have paid higher taxes for luxury items.

Consumption vs. Income Tax

  • Consumption tax is an indirect tax, tax on the purchase of any goods or services, whereas income tax indirect tax applied on the income earned.
  • Consumption tax is also called a cash-flow tax or expenditure tax; Income tax is simply based on total income.
  • Consumption tax is different for a different type of products and services, whereas the income tax bracket is the same for all individuals.
  • No doubt, both are revenue to the government, but consumption tax has to be designed in a way such that neither is it a burden to taxpayers nor does it reduce the revenue of the government.
  • Consumption tax is levied at the time of purchase of product or service; income tax is filed by the payee before the deadline given by the government to pay the taxes.

Advantages

  • Poor is not burdened by the heavy taxes on the products as the higher taxes on luxury items compensate it.
  • Since more spending results in paying more tax, it encourages the activity of saving in the economy.
  • Tax neutrality can be achieved effectively if this tax is levied appropriately across the economy.
  • It is easy to estimate the spending in the economy and to calculate GDP using the expenditure method.
  • In this, everyone pays a similar amount as tax for products coming under the same genre. There is no disparity in the tax amount paid.

Disadvantages

  • It can discourage consumer spending as it taxes more on spending more in and economy.
  • To report and track, it is difficult from the government perspective compared to the income tax.
  • Consumption tax on luxury products is very high; this will increase the price of the products in the market. It can lead to a reduction in demand.
  • To make this work, everything and anything being sold in the economy has to be taxed. It will just increase the price and decrease the demand, ultimately reducing the spending in the economy.
  • Retired individuals could be taxed twice because of this tax, which is a burden on the individual.
  • In some scenarios, even the poor will end up paying more taxes than they can afford. It can be because of its lousy execution.

Conclusion

  • Consumption tax is a tax levied on spending in an economy. The idea is to neutralize the effect of tax on basic products by taxing luxury products more. In this way, the poor can be benefited from an economy. It is taxes individuals who can afford more and gives the benefit to the poor by taxing basic necessity products less.
  • It is a concept of the west slowly making its way into the east. Having said that in this tax, every product has to be taxed separately and appropriately so that it doesn’t burden the poor and also doesn’t damage the demand for the products. The ideology is to keep the government revenue intact without disturbing the economies of products. It has to be executed carefully in a particular economy to reap the advantages.

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