Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Letter to SJ Mercury re: Taxation of Services

I had a letter published in the SJ Mercury News re: taxation of services. Here is the link, in case anyone is interested (scroll down):

In addition to disproportionately falling on minorities, the middle class, and the poor, a service tax would create other problems. If the government starts taxing services, many small businesses might be tempted to go "underground" or not report certain transactions. I am not sure who wins when governments set up taxation systems that are sure to create enforcement problems. Although technically, the tax is passed onto consumers, it causes compliance costs for small businesses. For example, I do my own taxes; however, if I had to collect a sales tax, I would probably have to hire a CPA or accountant to make sure I was following the law properly.

These same arguments--the disproportionate impact on those least able to afford the tax, and potential enforceability issues--have been used against replacing an income tax with an additional sales tax on goods. Perhaps replacing an income tax with a national consumption tax on goods may be choosing the lesser of two evils.

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