Gregorio Sancianco: an early advocate of presumptive taxation
Writing in 1881, Gregorio Sancianco advocated a presumptive tax for the Philippines. Unlike other proponents of the scheme, however, Sancianco viewed a presumptive tax in decidedly modern terms: as a second-best response to the reality of tax evasion in the face of information asymmetry and limited government enforcement capacity. He also believed that such a tax, while imperfect, served on the whole to induce owners to devote their resources to the most efficient use. Sancianco’s ideas stem from a Spanish liberal lineage derived from Adam Smith and best represented by the eighteenth-century Spanish reformer and statesman Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos.
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