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Tax-and-Transfer Tensions: Designing Direct Tax Structures

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Direct tax structures are regularly revised and debates over changes are heated. Taxes affect the behaviour of individuals and families in ways which are hard to predict, but which impose constraints on governments trying to achieve their objectives. Attempts to help one group of individuals often have unintended consequences on other groups. Views about the role of a tax system vary substantially but, in debates, the basic value judgements which influence policy recommendations are seldom made explicit. This article attempts to clarify the main tensions involved in tax planning and to explain why consensus is unlikely ever to be achieved.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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