The benefits-received principle of taxation is most evident in:
- Local taxes (such as property, sales, and income) are often used to fund public services that provide local residents with greater access to goods and services.
They are often based on the idea that the more people who live in an area benefit from services provided by government, the higher their tax burden should be.
But this principle of taxation is controversial because it is difficult to determine how much people actually receive from public goods and services.
It also conflicts with the principle that taxes should not interfere with market decisions relating to production and consumption of goods.
The primary aim of a national tax system is to generate revenue sufficient to pay for government expenditures. This is achieved by imposing taxes on goods and services that tend to grow at the same rate as the national product, such as sales and value-added taxes.
Another way governments obtain tax revenue is through user fees, which are levied on consumers of government-provided goods and services. Users include students paying tuition, visitors to national parks, and motorists who pay highway tolls.
The ability-to-pay principle, on the other hand, states that taxes should be based on a taxpayer’s means to pay. This is a more progressive form of taxation that charges people who have lower incomes a higher tax burden than those with higher incomes.