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It seems to me to be the chief defect of the present tax, that it does not make any distinction between permanent and temporary incomes, or between precarious and certain incomes. I should not however be inclined to make so great a distinction in either of those cases as is contended for by many. The most popular of the plans for remedying the inequality or injustice of the present tax in making no distinction between permanent and temporary incomes, is the plan of capitalizing, as it is called, the income, and taxing each income at what would be its selling value at the moment when the tax is levied. Now this appears to me to involve an arithmetical fallacy. Suppose, for instance, there were two incomes, each of 1,000 a year, the one a permanent income, and the other an income for 10 years, or what is equivalent, a life income, the life being supposed to be worth 10 years’ purchase. Supposing that the permanent income would sell for 20 years’ purchase, it would be double the value of the other, and, according to the maxim of taxing all persons in proportion to their means without consideration of anything else, all would admit that an income which is worth only half as much as another income, should pay only half as much. Under cover, however, of this principle, it is contended that an income of 1,000 a year which is to last for only 10 years, should be considered as equivalent to an income of 500 a year to last for ever, and should be taxed at only the same rate at which a perpetual annuity of 500 would be taxed. This appears to me to be fallacious: because, after converting an income of 1,000 a year for 10 years into an equivalent value in perpetuity, that is to say, into 500 a year in perpetuity, you do not tax it in perpetuity, which you would do if it were really a permanent income of that value, but you tax it only for 10 years. The fallacy lies in capitalizing the income without at the same time capitalizing the tax. It appears to me that you ought to do both, or neither. The point might be illustrated in this way. Supposing the tax were to be paid only once, and assuming, as before, that a perpetual income is worth 20 years’ purchase, it would be fair to take from a perpetual income of 1,000 a year exactly twice as much as you take from an income of 1,000 a year for 10 years; that is to say, an income of 1,000 in perpetuity being worth 20,000 an income of 1,000 a year for life at 10 years’ purchase, would be worth only 10,000 and therefore ought to pay half as much as the other. Now supposing the tax were levied once for all, and that it were a tax of five per cent., the one income would pay 1,000 once, and the other income would pay 500 once, because the one would be worth 20,000 and the other only 10,000 that everybody would allow to be fair, the one being half the selling value of the other. As that would be fair if the tax was to be levied only once, I apprehend that it would be fair in whatever mode the tax was levied; the one ought to pay what is equivalent to 1,000 and the other to pay what is equivalent to 500 But it is proposed that an income of 1,000 a year for 10 years only, should be taxed as if it were an income of 500 a year, that it should be taxed therefore only 25 a year, and should pay that for only 10 years. So that where the perpetual income pays a perpetual tax equal in value to 1,000 the terminable income pays a terminable tax equivalent only to 250 and consequently pays a fourth, instead of a half, what the other pays. This, I conceive, is not consistent with the principle of paying in proportion to means, which is the principle of the tax as at present levied. At the same time, I do not consider that to be the right principle of taxation. I do not conceive that the tax should be in proportion to the means only, but that it should take into consideration the means, and also the wants. I would therefore tax temporary or precarious incomes at a lower scale than permanent or certain incomes, not because of their having a less selling value, but because the possessors of those incomes have one want, which those who possess permanent incomes have not; they are liable to be called upon in most cases to save something out of that income to provide for their own future years, or to provide for others who are dependent upon them; while those who possess permanent incomes can spend the whole, and still leave the property to their descendants or others. It is for this reason that I would tax a temporary income at a lower rate than a permanent income.
Higher English Discursive Essay Help
Persuasive/Discursive Essay | Mr Adam - Higher English
corpus It seems necessary, I think, to begin by considering what would be the conditions of a perfectly just income tax, although those conditions may not be, and are not, entirely realizable; in order to have a standard of absolute justice before one, which one must endeavour to carry out so far as insuperable practical obstacles do not interfere with it. Unless we set before ourselves an idea of what would be perfectly just, we are unable to make any fair approximation to justice in the practical application. I should say that the first rule is the general rule of taxation, namely, equality; that is to say, taxation in proportion to means. But this does not, I think, necessarily imply taxation in proportion to the whole of a person’s receipts; because the whole of his receipts may greatly exceed what he can, with any propriety, expend upon himself. It seems to me, therefore, that two kinds of allowances are necessary; an allowance for small incomes, and an allowance for incomes that are of temporary duration, or precarious; and I think that the present income tax fails of justice under both those heads, though I do not go nearly so far as many people in my estimate of the amount of that injustice.
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If the system which is proposed to be interfered with were one that gave general satisfaction, and could be considered a popular system, I cannot deny that the new inequalities which might be introduced, or those which might be left unredressed, might be very severely criticised. But there is such dissatisfaction with the plan as it now is, that I think there could hardly be so much with any new one; at least if the cases in which redress was given by the new plan, were on the whole those which presented the strongest claims to it, as I think would be the case under the Honourable Chairman’s plan. It seems to me, that any plan giving a relief of one-third to the whole mass of industrial incomes, would not only cover the greatest number of cases that have any claim, but also the strongest cases; and I should therefore anticipate that the complaint and dissatisfaction which might be excited by the impossibility of carrying the relief quite so far as the principle would go, would not be very great. I think that almost all the cases which would be left unrelieved, would be cases in which the claim to relief, if properly explained, would be seen to be not nearly so strong as in the cases of industrial incomes.