Throughout history there have been taxes. As Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously said in 1904, “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” From the recorded writings of the earliest civilizations to the front page of today’s newspapers, taxes have been core to human existence. Governments require revenue. In the earliest civilizations governments raised revenue to fight wars and defend their citizens. Taxes were used to build roads, ports, and fortresses. As the world economy expanded, taxes were used to promote economic development, build factories, and encourage commerce. As social needs evolved over the last two decades, taxes have been used to provide for the poor and the needy, for education, and to improve the quality of life for a nation’s citizenry.
Regardless of the spending agenda, governments all need revenue. From the first civilizations to today’s modern government, the history of taxation has followed similar patterns and governments throughout history have faced similar challenges. What to tax? Should taxes be levied on property, income, or consumption? How to measure and determine the amount of tax to be paid? How to administer and collect tax? Should tax be direct to the citizen or indirect and collected at the source? How to find a balance in the fairness of tax? And how to deal with the inevitable strategies citizens develop to avoid tax? Should citizens self-report their tax liabilities with government systems to audit those reports? Or should government invest in the infrastructure required to collect taxes at the point of source?
This thesis will explore taxes: the history, the newest ideas, the abuses, and the reasons why tax policy today has become so cumbersome and legalistic that it takes thousands of pages to explain all the complexities of our tax system. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.)
|Advisor:||Collins, Michael J.|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||MAI 55/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Kansas, Tax code, Taxes|
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