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Progressive or "Flat" Tax - Economic and Political Dilemma

  • Beáta Blechová
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    There are currently held tough discussions among economists and policy makers on the most appropriate form of taxation that would be fair, simple, enough incentive to wage work and entrepreneurship and withal also providing sufficient revenue for the state to fund the services provided to citizens. In this debate two opposing views on the basic form of this system stand against each other, namely, whether it should tax the income in a progressive manner, as is the case with tax systems applied today in most countries, or in a proportional manner, which has been introduced in a limited extent in several countries, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. This article provides a brief description of the basic characteristics of both these approaches and summarizes the main arguments presented by their proponents and opponents. The next section describes the different variants of a proportional system, also known as a flat tax system, some of which currently exist only in the yet unrealized proposals, and in the end, then compare their pros and cons.

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    Article provided by University of Economics, Prague in its journal Politická ekonomie.

    Volume (Year): 2012 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 649-667

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    Handle: RePEc:prg:jnlpol:v:2012:y:2012:i:5:id:868:p:649-667
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    1. Smart, Michael, 1999. "A simple proof of the efficiency of the poll tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 459-465, March.
    2. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
    3. Robert P. Hagemann & Brian R. Jones & Robert Bruce Montador, 1987. "Tax Reform in OECD Countries: Economic Rationale and Consequences," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 40, OECD Publishing.
    4. Tuomala, Matti, 1990. "Optimal Income Tax and Redistribution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286059.
    5. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073, August.
    6. European Commission, 2013. "Taxation trends in the European Union: 2013 edition," Taxation trends 2013, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    7. European Commission, 2010. "Taxation trends in the European Union: 2010 edition," Taxation trends 2010, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
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