Tax, taxation, forms of escape from taxation, computation, fiscal policy
TAX A tax (from the Latin taxo; "I estimate") is a financial charge or other levyimposed upon a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity) by a state or the functionalequivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are alsoimposed by many administrative divisions. Taxes consist of direct or indirect taxes andmay be paid in money or as its labor equivalent. According to Blacks Law Dictionary, a tax is a "pecuniary burden laid uponindividuals or property owners to support the government a payment exacted bylegislative authority." It "is not a voluntary payment or donation, but an enforcedcontribution, exacted pursuant to legislative authority" and is "any contribution imposedby government whether under the name of toll, tribute, tallage, gabel, impost, duty,custom, excise, subsidy, aid, supply, or other name." The legal definition and the economic definition of taxes differ in that economistsdo not consider many transfers to governments to be taxes. For example, sometransfers to the public sector are comparable to prices. Examples include tuition atpublic universities and fees for utilities provided by local governments. Governmentsalso obtain resources by creating money (e.g., printing bills and minting coins), throughvoluntary gifts (e.g., contributions to public universities and museums), by imposingpenalties (e.g., traffic fines), by borrowing, and by confiscating wealth. From the view ofeconomists, a tax is a non-penal, yet compulsory transfer of resources from the privateto the Public sector levied on a basis of predetermined criteria and without reference tospecific benefit received. In modern taxation systems, taxes are levied in money; but, in-kind and corvéetaxation are characteristic of traditional or pre-capitalist states and their functionalequivalents. The method of taxation and the government expenditure of taxes raised isoften highly debated in politics and economics. Tax collection is performed by agovernment agency such as Canada Revenue Agency, the Internal Revenue Service(IRS) in the United States, or Her Majestys Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in theUnited Kingdom. When taxes are not fully paid, civil penalties (such as fines orforfeiture) or criminal penalties (such as incarceration) may be imposed on the non-paying entity.Types of Tax Taxes on income Income tax Many jurisdictions tax the income of individuals and business entities, including corporations. Generally the tax is imposed on net profits from business, net gains, and other income. Computation of income subject to tax may be determined under accounting principles used in the jurisdiction, which may be modified or replaced by tax law principles in the jurisdiction. The incidence of
taxation varies by system, and some systems may be viewed as progressive orregressive. Rates of tax may vary or be constant (flat) by income level. Manysystems allow individuals certain personal allowances and other non-businessreductions to taxable income. Personal income tax is often collected on a pay-as-you-earn basis, withsmall corrections made soon after the end of the tax year. These corrections takeone of two forms: payments to the government, for taxpayers who have not paidenough during the tax year; and tax refunds from the government for those whohave overpaid. Income tax systems will often have deductions available thatlessen the total tax liability by reducing total taxable income. They may allowlosses from one type of income to be counted against another. For example, aloss on the stock market may be deducted against taxes paid on wages. Othertax systems may isolate the loss, such that business losses can only bededucted against business tax by carrying forward the loss to later tax years.Negative income tax In economics, a negative income tax (abbreviated NIT) is a progressiveincome tax system where people earning below a certain amount receivesupplemental pay from the government instead of paying taxes to thegovernment.Capital gains tax Most jurisdictions imposing an income tax treat capital gains as part ofincome subject to tax. Capital gain is generally gain on sale of capital assets, i.e.,those assets not held for sale in the ordinary course of business. Capital assetsinclude personal assets in many jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions providepreferential rates of tax or only partial taxation for capital gains. Somejurisdictions impose different rates or levels of capital gains taxation based on thelength of time the asset was held.Corporate tax Corporate tax refers to income, capital, net worth, or other taxes imposedon corporations. Rates of tax and the taxable base for corporations may differfrom those for individuals or other taxable persons.Social security contributions Many countries provide publicly funded retirement or health care systems.In connection with these systems, the country typically requires employers and/oremployees to make compulsory payments. These payments are often computedby reference to wages or earnings from self-employment. Tax rates are generallyfixed, but a different rate may be imposed on employers than on employees.Some systems provide an upper limit on earnings subject to the tax. A fewsystems provide that the tax is payable only on wages above a particularamount. Such upper or lower limits may apply for retirement but not health carecomponents of the tax.
Taxes on payroll or workforce Unemployment and similar taxes are often imposed on employers based on total payroll. These taxes may be imposed in both the country and sub- country levels.Taxes on property Recurrent [property taxes] may be imposed on immovable property (real property) and some classes of movable property. In addition, recurrent taxes may be imposed on net wealth of individuals or corporations. Many jurisdictions impose estate tax, gift tax or other inheritance taxes on property at death or gift transfer. Some jurisdictions impose taxes on financial or capital transactions. Property tax A property tax (or millage tax) is an ad valorem tax levy on the value of property that the owner of the property is required to pay to a government in which the property is situated. Multiple jurisdictions may tax the same property. There are three general varieties of property: land, improvements to land (immovable man-made things, e.g. buildings) and personal property (movable things). Real estate or realty is the combination of land and improvements to land. Property taxes are usually charged on a recurrent basis (e.g., yearly). A common type of property tax is an annual charge on the ownership of real estate, where the tax base is the estimated value of the property. For a period of over 150 years from 1695 a window tax was levied in England, with the result that one can still see listed buildings with windows bricked up in order to save their owners money. A similar tax on hearths existed in France and elsewhere, with similar results. The two most common types of event driven property taxes are stamp duty, charged upon change of ownership, and inheritance tax, which is imposed in many countries on the estates of the deceased. In contrast with a tax on real estate (land and buildings), a land value tax is levied only on the unimproved value of the land ("land" in this instance may mean either the economic term, i.e., all natural resources, or the natural resources associated with specific areas of the Earths surface: "lots" or "land parcels"). Proponents of land value tax argue that it is economically justified, as it will not deter production, distort market mechanisms or otherwise create deadweight losses the way other taxes do. When real estate is held by a higher government unit or some other entity not subject to taxation by the local government, the taxing authority may receive a payment in lieu of taxes to compensate it for some or all of the foregone tax revenue. In many jurisdictions (including many American states), there is a general tax levied periodically on residents who own personal property (personality)
within the jurisdiction. Vehicle and boat registration fees are subsets of this kindof tax. The tax is often designed with blanket coverage and large exceptions forthings like food and clothing. Household goods are often exempt when kept orused within the household. Any otherwise non-exempt object can lose itsexemption if regularly kept outside the household. Thus, tax collectors oftenmonitor newspaper articles for stories about wealthy people who have lent art tomuseums for public display, because the artworks have then become subject topersonal property tax. If an artwork had to be sent to another state for sometouch-ups, it may have become subject to personal property tax in that state aswell.Inheritance tax Inheritance tax, estate tax, and death tax or duty are the names given tovarious taxes which arise on the death of an individual. In United States tax law,there is a distinction between an estate tax and an inheritance tax: the formertaxes the personal representatives of the deceased, while the latter taxes thebeneficiaries of the estate. However, this distinction does not apply in otherjurisdictions; for example, if using this terminology UK inheritance tax would bean estate tax.Expatriation tax An Expatriation Tax is a tax on individuals who renounce their citizenshipor residence. The tax is often imposed based on a deemed disposition of all theindividuals property. One example is the United States under the American JobsCreation Act, where any individual who has a net worth of $2 million or anaverage income-tax liability of $127,000 who renounces his or her citizenshipand leaves the country is automatically assumed to have done so for taxavoidance reasons and is subject to a higher tax rate.Transfer tax Historically, in many, countries, a contract needed to have a stamp affixedto make it valid. The charge for the stamp was either a fixed amount or apercentage of the value of the transaction. In most countries the stamp has beenabolished but stamp duty remains. Stamp duty is levied in the UK on thepurchase of shares and securities, the issue of bearer instruments, and certainpartnership transactions. Its modern derivatives, stamp duty reserve tax andstamp duty land tax, are respectively charged on transactions involving securitiesand land. Stamp duty has the effect of discouraging speculative purchases ofassets by decreasing liquidity. In the United States, transfer tax is often chargedby the state or local government and (in the case of real property transfers) canbe tied to the recording of the deed or other transfer documents.Wealth (net worth) tax Some countries governments will require declaration of the tax payersbalance sheet (assets and liabilities), and from that exact a tax on net worth(assets minus liabilities), as a percentage of the net worth, or a percentage of the
net worth exceeding a certain level. The tax may be levied on "natural" or legal "persons". An example is Frances ISF.Taxes on goods and services Value added tax (Goods and Services Tax) A value added tax (VAT), also known as Goods and Services Tax (G.S.T), Single Business Tax, or Turnover Tax in some countries, applies the equivalent of a sales tax to every operation that creates value. To give an example, sheet steel is imported by a machine manufacturer. That manufacturer will pay the VAT on the purchase price, remitting that amount to the government. The manufacturer will then transform the steel into a machine, selling the machine for a higher price to a wholesale distributor. The manufacturer will collect the VAT on the higher price, but will remit to the government only the excess related to the "value added" (the price over the cost of the sheet steel). The wholesale distributor will then continue the process, charging the retail distributor the VAT on the entire price to the retailer, but remitting only the amount related to the distribution mark-up to the government. The last VAT amount is paid by the eventual retail customer who cannot recover any of the previously paid VAT. For a VAT and sales tax of identical rates, the total tax paid is the same, but it is paid at differing points in the process. VAT is usually administrated by requiring the company to complete a VAT return, giving details of VAT it has been charged (referred to as input tax) and VAT it has charged to others (referred to as output tax). The difference between output tax and input tax is payable to the Local Tax Authority. If input tax is greater than output tax the company can claim back money from the Local Tax Authority. Sales taxes Sales taxes are levied when a commodity is sold to its final consumer. Retail organizations contend that such taxes discourage retail sales. The question of whether they are generally progressive or regressive is a subject of much current debate. People with higher incomes spend a lower proportion of them, so a flat-rate sales tax will tend to be regressive. It is therefore common to exempt food, utilities and other necessities from sales taxes, since poor people spend a higher proportion of their incomes on these commodities, so such exemptions make the tax more progressive. This is the classic "You pay for what you spend" tax, as only those who spend money on non-exempt (i.e. luxury) items pay the tax. A small number of U.S. states rely entirely on sales taxes for state revenue, as those states do not levy a state income tax. Such states tend to have a moderate to large amount of tourism or inter-state travel that occurs within their borders, allowing the state to benefit from taxes from people the state would otherwise not tax. In this way, the state is able to reduce the tax burden on its citizens. The U.S. states that do not levy a state income tax are Alaska,
Tennessee, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington state, andWyoming. Additionally, New Hampshire and Tennessee levy state income taxesonly on dividends and interest income. Of the above states, only Alaska and NewHampshire do not levy a state sales tax. Additional information can be obtainedat the Federation of Tax Administrators website. In the United States, there is a growing movement for the replacement ofall federal payroll and income taxes (both corporate and personal) with a nationalretail sales tax and monthly tax rebate to households of citizens and legalresident aliens. The tax proposal is named FairTax. In Canada, the federal salestax is called the Goods and Services tax (GST) and now stands at 5%. Theprovinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Prince EdwardIsland also have a provincial sales tax [PST]. The provinces of Nova Scotia, NewBrunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Ontario have harmonized theirprovincial sales taxes with the GST—Harmonized Sales Tax [HST], and thus is afull VAT. The province of Quebec collects the Quebec Sales Tax [QST] which isbased on the GST with certain differences. Most businesses can claim back theGST, HST and QST they pay, and so effectively it is the final consumer who paysthe tax.Excises Unlike an ad valorem, an excise is not a function of the value of theproduct being taxed. Excise taxes are based on the quantity, not the value, ofproduct purchased. For example, in the United States, the Federal governmentimposes an excise tax of 18.4 cents per U.S. gallon (4.86¢/L) of gasoline, whilestate governments levy an additional 8 to 28 cents per U.S. gallon. Excises onparticular commodities are frequently hypothecated. For example, a fuel excise(use tax) is often used to pay for public transportation, especially roads andbridges and for the protection of the environment. A special form ofhypothecation arises where an excise is used to compensate a party to atransaction for alleged uncontrollable abuse; for example, a blank media tax is atax on recordable media such as CD-Rs, whose proceeds are typically allocatedto copyright holders. Critics charge that such taxes blindly tax those who makelegitimate and illegitimate usages of the products; for instance, a person orcorporation using CD-Rs for data archival should not have to subsidize theproducers of popular music. Excises (or exemptions from them) are also used to modify consumptionpatterns (social engineering). For example, a high excise is used to discouragealcohol consumption, relative to other goods. This may be combined withhypothecation if the proceeds are then used to pay for the costs of treating illnesscaused by alcohol abuse. Similar taxes may exist on tobacco, pornography, etc.,and they may be collectively referred to as "sin taxes". A carbon tax is a tax onthe consumption of carbon-based non-renewable fuels, such as petrol, diesel-fuel, jet fuels, and natural gas. The object is to reduce the release of carbon into
the atmosphere. In the United Kingdom, vehicle excise duty is an annual tax on vehicle ownership.Pigovian taxes Tariff An import or export tariff (also called customs duty or impost) is a charge for the movement of goods through a political border. Tariffs discourage trade, and they may be used by governments to protect domestic industries. A proportion of tariff revenues is often hypothecated to pay government to maintain a navy or border police. The classic ways of cheating a tariff are smuggling or declaring a false value of goods. Tax, tariff and trade rules in modern times are usually set together because of their common impact on industrial policy, investment policy, and agricultural policy. A trade bloc is a group of allied countries agreeing to minimize or eliminate tariffs against trade with each other, and possibly to impose protective tariffs on imports from outside the bloc. A customs union has a common external tariff, and the participating countries share the revenues from tariffs on goods entering the customs union.Other taxes License fees Occupational taxes or license fees may be imposed on businesses or individuals engaged in certain businesses. Many jurisdictions impose a tax on vehicles. Poll tax A poll tax, also called a per capita tax, or capitation tax, is a tax that levies a set amount per individual. It is an example of the concept of fixed tax. One of the earliest taxes mentioned in the Bible of a half-shekel per annum from each adult Jew (Ex. 30:11-16) was a form of poll tax. Poll taxes are administratively cheap because they are easy to compute and collect and difficult to cheat. Economists have considered poll taxes economically efficient because people are presumed to be in fixed supply. However, poll taxes are very unpopular because poorer people pay a higher proportion of their income than richer people. In addition, the supply of people is in fact not fixed over time: on average, couples will choose to have fewer children if a poll tax is imposed.[not in citation given] The introduction of a poll tax in medieval England was the primary cause of the 1381 Peasants Revolt. Scotland was the first to be used to test the new poll tax in 1989 with England and Wales in 1990. The change from a progressive local taxation based on property values to a single-rate form of taxation regardless of ability to pay (the Community Charge, but more popularly referred to as the Poll Tax), led to widespread refusal to pay and to incidents of civil unrest, known colloquially as the Poll Tax Riots.Some types of taxes have been proposed but not actually adopted in any majorjurisdiction. These include:
Bank tax Financial transaction taxes including currency transaction taxes Descriptive labels given some taxesAd valorem An ad valorem tax is one where the tax base is the value of a good,service, or property. Sales taxes, tariffs, property taxes, inheritance taxes, andvalue added taxes are different types of ad valorem tax. An ad valorem tax istypically imposed at the time of a transaction (sales tax or value added tax (VAT))but it may be imposed on an annual basis (property tax) or in connection withanother significant event (inheritance tax or tariffs). An alternative to ad valoremtaxation is an excise tax, where the tax base is the quantity of something,regardless of its price.Consumption tax Consumption tax refers to any tax on non-investment spending, and canbe implemented by means of a sales tax, consumer value added tax, or bymodifying an income tax to allow for unlimited deductions for investment orsavings.Environmental tax This includes natural resources consumption tax, greenhouse gas tax(Carbon tax), "sulfuric tax", and others. The stated purpose is to reduce theenvironmental impact by re-pricing.Proportional, progressive, regressive, and lump-sum An important feature of tax systems is the percentage of the tax burden asit relates to income or consumption. The terms progressive, regressive, andproportional are used to describe the way the rate progresses from low to high,from high to low, or proportionally. The terms describe a distribution effect, whichcan be applied to any type of tax system (income or consumption) that meets thedefinition. A progressive tax is a tax imposed so that the effective tax rateincreases as the amount to which the rate is applied increases. The opposite of a progressive tax is a regressive tax, where the effectivetax rate decreases as the amount to which the rate is applied increases. Thiseffect is commonly produced where means testing is used to withdraw taxallowances or state benefits. In between is a proportional tax, where the effective tax rate is fixed,while the amount to which the rate is applied increases. A lump-sum tax is a tax that is a fixed amount, no matter the change incircumstance of the taxed entity. This in actuality is a regressive tax as those with
lower income must use higher percentage of their income than those with higher income and therefore the effect of the tax reduces as a function of income. The terms can also be used to apply meaning to the taxation of select consumption, such as a tax on luxury goods and the exemption of basic necessities may be described as having progressive effects as it increases a tax burden on high end consumption and decreases a tax burden on low end consumption.Direct and indirect Taxes are sometimes referred to as "direct taxes" or "indirect taxes". Themeaning of these terms can vary in different contexts, which can sometimes lead toconfusion. An economic definition, by Atkinson, states that "...direct taxes may beadjusted to the individual characteristics of the taxpayer, whereas indirect taxes arelevied on transactions irrespective of the circumstances of buyer or seller." According tothis definition, for example, income tax is "direct", and sales tax is "indirect". In law, theterms may have different meanings. In U.S. constitutional law, for instance, direct taxesrefer to poll taxes and property taxes, which are based on simple existence orownership. Indirect taxes are imposed on events, rights, privileges, and activities. Thus,a tax on the sale of property would be considered an indirect tax, whereas the tax onsimply owning the property itself would be a direct tax.Fees and effective taxes Governments may charge user fees, tolls, or other types of assessments inexchange of particular goods, services, or use of property. These are generally notconsidered taxes, as long as they are levied as payment for a direct benefit to theindividual paying. Such fees include: Tolls: a fee charged to travel via a road, bridge, tunnel, canal, waterway or othertransportation facilities. Historically tolls have been used to pay for public bridge, roadand tunnel projects. They have also been used in privately constructed transport links.The toll is likely to be a fixed charge, possibly graduated for vehicle type, or for distanceon long routes. User fees, such as those charged for use of parks or other government ownedfacilities. Ruling fees charged by governmental agencies to make determinations inparticular situations.Some scholars refer to certain economic effects as taxes, though they are not leviesimposed by governments. These include:Inflation tax: the economic disadvantage suffered by holders of cash and cashequivalents in one denomination of currency due to the effects of expansionarymonetary policy.
Financial repression: Government policies such as interest rate caps on governmentdebt, financial regulations such as reserve requirements and capital controls, andbarriers to entry in markets where the government owns or controls businesses.Taxation - is a payment levied by government for which no good or service is receiveddirectly in return - that is, the amount of tax people pay is not related directly to thebenefit people obtain from the provision of a particular good or service.PRINCIPLES OF TAXATION Basic concepts by which a government is meant to be guided in designing andimplementing an equitable taxation regime. These include: (1) Adequacy: taxes shouldbe 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 ofthe population, or sectors of economy, to minimize the individual tax burden.(3) Compatibility: taxes should be coordinated to ensure tax neutrality andoverall objectives of good governance. (4) Convenience: taxes should be enforced in amanner that facilitates voluntary compliance to the maximum extent possible.(5) Earmarking: tax revenue from a specific source should be dedicated to a specificpurpose only when there is a direct cost-and-benefit link between the tax source andthe 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 economiccircumstances. (8) Neutrality: taxes should not favor any one group or sector overanother, and should not be designed to interfere-with or influence individual decisions-making. (9) Predictability: collection of taxes should reinforce their inevitability andregularity. (10) Restricted exemptions: tax exemptions must only be for specificpurposes (such as to encourage investment) and for a limited period. (11) Simplicity:tax assessment and determination should be easy to understand byan average taxpayer.Computation of Income TaxIn order to understand the concept described above, let us use the hypothetical data:Mr. De Castro is gainfully employed as a full-time professor at the Far EasternAcademy. His monthly salary is P85, 000.00 and said academy deducted 32% of hissalary for tax. He is married, with five (5) children namely: Jackie, 25 years old butmentally retarded; Celine, 22years old; Andrew, 19 years old; Ely, 18 years old; andBen, 15 years old. Solve the monthly and annual tax of Mr. De Castro. Identify if there isan overpayment/tax payable using the following allowable deductions:SSS= P700.00/MonthlyPag-IBIG= P200.00PhilHealth= P200.00Union Due= P100.00Given:
Total allowance reduction: P1, 200.00/month x 12 = P14, 400.00/yearGross income: P85, 000.00/month x 12 = P1, 020, 000.00/yearTax deduction from his employer (32% of his salary):P1, 020, 000.00 x 0.32 = P 326,400.00Tax income: P85, 000.00(month income) –P1, 200.00(allowance deductions) = P83,800.00Annual tax of Mr. De Castro: P83, 800.00 x 0.32 = P26, 816.00(monthly tax) x 12 =P321, 792.00Computation: A. Single Gross income: P1, 020, 000.00 - P14, 400.00(allowance deductions) = P1, 005, 600.00 Gross taxable income: P1, 005, 600.00 – P50, 000.00 (personal exemptions) =P955, 600.00 Tax due from his employer : P326, 400.00 Tax withheld per BIR 1700 : P270, 792.00 Overpayment of Mr. De Castro from his employer : P55, 608.00(refundable) A. Married with 4 Qualified Dependents Gross income: P1, 020, 000.00 - P14, 400.00(allowance deductions) = P1, 005, 600.00 Gross taxable income: P1, 005, 600.00 – P150, 000.00 (personal exemptions + 4Qualified defendant) = P855, 600.00 Tax due from his employer : P326, 400.00 Tax withheld per BIR 1700 : P238, 792.00 Overpayment of Mr. De Castro from his employer : P87, 608.00(refundable)FORMS OF ESCAPE FROM TAXATION/ EXEMPTION FROM TAXATIONFORMS OF ESCAPE FROM TAXATIONA. ShiftingB. CapitalizationC. TransformationD. AvoidanceE. ExemptionF. EvasionA. Shifting- process by which tax burden is transferred from statutory taxpayer toanother without violating the law.Kinds of Shifting 1. Forward shifting- when burden of tax is transferred from a factor of production through the factors of distribution until it finally settles on the ultimate purchaser or consumer
2. Backward shifting – when the burden is transferred from consumer through factors of distribution to the factors of production; 3. Onward shifting- when the tax is shifted 2 or more times either forward or backward.B. Capitalization- is the reduction in the price of the taxed object equal to the capitalizedvalue of the future taxes which the purchaser expects to be called upon to pay.C. Transformation- the manufacturer or producer upon whom the tax has beenimposed, fearing the loss of his market if he should add the tax to the price, pays the taxand endeavors to recoup himself by improving his process of production thereby turningout his units at a lower cost.D. Tax avoidance- exploitation by the taxpayer of legally permissible alternative taxrates or methods of assessing taxable property or income, in order to avoid or reducetax liability.E. Tax Exemption- grant of immunity to particular persons or corporations of a particularclass from a tax which persons and corporations generally within the same state ortaxing district are obliged to pay.Basic Principles Regarding Tax Exemptions 1. Exemptions are highly disfavored by law and he who claims an exemption must be able to justify his claim by the clearest grant of law. 2. He who claims tax exemption should prove by convincing proofs that he is exempted 3. Tax exemptions should be strictly construed against the person claiming it. 4. Taxation is the rule and exemption Is the exception 5. Constitutional grant of tax exemptions are self-executing 6. In the same way that taxes are personal, tax exemptions are also personal 7. Deductions for income tax purposes partake of the nature of tax exemptions, therefore deductions should also be construed strictly against the taxpayer.F. Tax evasion- use of taxpayer of illegal or fraudulent means to defeat or lessen thepayment of tax.Indicia of Fraud in tax evasion 1. Failure to declare for taxation purposes true and actual income derived from business for 2 consecutive years; 2. Substantial under declaration of income tax returns of the tax payer for 4 consecutive years coupled with intentional overstatement of deductions.
Fiscalpolicy - is the means by which a government adjusts its levels of spending in order to monitor and influence a nations economy. It is the sister strategy to monetary policy with which a central bank influences a nations money supply. These two policies are used in various combinations in an effort to direct a countrys economic goals. - It is carried out by the legislative and/or the executive branches of government. The two main instruments of fiscal policy are government expenditures and taxes. The government collects taxes in order to finance expenditures on a number of public goods and services—for example, highways and national defense. It involves the use of government spending, taxation and borrowing to affect the level and growth of aggregate demand, output and jobs. - It is also used to change the pattern of spending on goods and services. It is also a means by which a redistribution of income & wealth can be achieved. It is an instrument of intervention to correct for free-market failures. Changes in fiscal policy affect aggregate demand (AD) and aggregate supply (AS)How Fiscal Policy Works? - Fiscal policy is based on the theories of British economist John MaynardKeynes. Also known as Keynesian economics, this theory basically states thatgovernments can influence macroeconomic productivity levels by increasing ordecreasing tax levels and public spending. This influence, in turn, curbs inflation(generally considered to be healthy when at a level between 2-3%), increasesemployment and maintains a healthy value of money.Budget deficits and surpluses. When government expenditures exceeds government tax revenues in a givenyear, the government is running a budget deficit for that year. The budget deficit, whichis the difference between government expenditures and tax revenues, is financed bygovernment borrowing; the government issues long-term, interest-bearing bonds anduses the proceeds to finance the deficit. The total stock of government bonds andinterest payments outstanding, from both the present and the past, is known asthe national debt. Thus, when the government finances a deficit by borrowing, itis adding to the national debt. When government expenditures are less than taxrevenues in a given year, the government is running a budget surplus for that year.The budget surplus is the difference between tax revenues and governmentexpenditures. The revenues from the budget surplus are typically used to reduce anyexisting national debt. In the case where government expenditures are exactly equal to
tax revenues in a given year, the government is running a balanced budget for thatyear.Expansionary fiscal policy - is defined as an increase in government expenditures and/or a decrease in taxes that causes the governments budget deficit to increase or its budget surplus to decrease.Contractionary fiscal policy - is defined as a decrease in government expenditures and/or an increase in taxes that causes the governments budget deficit to decrease or its budget surplus to increase.Classical and Keynesian views of fiscal policy. - The belief that expansionary and contractionary fiscal policies can be used to influence macroeconomic performance is most closely associated with Keynes and his followers. The classical view of expansionary or contractionary fiscal policies is that such policies are unnecessary because there are market mechanisms—for example, the flexible adjustment of prices and wages—which serve to keep the economy at or near the natural level of real GDP at all times. Accordingly, classical economists believe that the government should run a balanced budget each and every year.Combating a recession using expansionary fiscal policy - Keynesian theories of output and employment were developed in the midst of the Great Depression of the 1930s, when unemployment rates in the U.S. and Europe exceeded 25% and the growth rate of real GDP declined steadily for most of the decade. Keynes and his followers believed that the way to combat the prevailing recessionary climate was not to wait for prices and wages to adjust but to engage in expansionary fiscal policy instead. The Keynesians argument in favor of expansionary fiscal policy is illustrated in Figure 1 .
Figure 1 Combating a recession using expansionary fiscal policy Assume that the economy is initially in a recession. The equilibrium level of realGDP,Y1, lies below the natural level, Y2, implying that there is less than full employmentof the economys resources. Classical economists believe that the presence ofunemployed resources causes wages to fall, reducing costs to suppliers and causingthe SAS curve to shift from SAS1 to SAS2, thereby restoring the economy to fullemployment. Keynesians, however, argue that wages are sticky downward and will notadjust quickly enough to reflect the reality of unemployed resources.Consequently, the recessionary climate may persist for a long time. The way out of thisdifficulty, according to the Keynesians, is to run a budget deficit by increasinggovernment expenditures in excess of current tax receipts. The increase in governmentexpenditures should be sufficient to cause the aggregate demand curve to shift to theright from AD1 to AD2, restoring the economy to the natural level of real GDP. Thisincrease in government expenditures need not, of course, be equal to the differencebetween Y1 and Y2. Recall that any increase in autonomous aggregate expenditures,including government expenditures, has a multiplier effect on aggregate demand.Hence, the government needs only to increase its expenditures by a small amount tocause aggregate demand to increase by the amount necessary to achieve the naturallevel of real GDP. Keynesians argue that expansionary fiscal policy provides a quick way out of arecession and is to be preferred to waiting for wages and prices to adjust, which cantake a long time. As Keynes once said, ―In the long run, we are all dead.‖Combating inflation using contractionary fiscal policy - Keynesians also argue that fiscal policy can be used to combat expected increases in the rate of inflation. Suppose that the economy is already at the natural level of real GDP and that aggregate demand is projected to increase further, which will cause the AD curve in Figure 2 to shift from AD1 to AD2.
Figure 2 Combating inflation using contractionary fiscal policy As real GDP rises above its natural level, prices also rise, prompting an increasein wages and other resource prices and causing the SAS curve to shiftfrom SAS1 toSAS2. The end result is inflation of the price level from P1 to P3, with nochange in real GDP. The government can head off this inflation by engaging inacontractionary fiscal policy designed to reduce aggregate demand by enough toprevent the AD curve from shifting out to AD2. Again, the government needs only todecrease expenditures or increase taxes by a small amount because of the multipliereffects that such actions will have.Secondary effects of fiscal policy - Classical economists point out that the Keynesian view of the effectiveness of fiscal policy tends to ignore the secondary effects that fiscal policy can have on credit market conditions. When the government pursues an expansionary fiscal policy, it finances its deficit spending by borrowing funds from the nations credit market. Assuming that the money supply remains constant, the governments borrowing of funds in the credit market tends to reduce the amount of funds available and thereby drives up interest rates. Higher interest rates, in turn, tend to reduce or ―crowd out‖ aggregate investment expenditures and consumer expenditures that are sensitive to interest rates. Hence, the effectiveness of expansionary fiscal policy in stimulating aggregate demand will be mitigated to some degree by this crowding-out effect. - The same holds true for contractionary fiscal policies designed to combat expected inflation. If the government reduces its expenditures and thereby reduces its borrowing, the supply of available funds in the credit market increases, causing the interest rate to fall. Aggregate demand increases as
the private sector increases its investment and interest-sensitive consumptionexpenditures. Hence, contractionary fiscal policy leads to a crowding-ineffect on the part of the private sector. This crowding-in effect mitigates theeffectiveness of the contractionary fiscal policy in counteracting risingaggregate demand and inflationary pressures.