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The term indirect tax has more than one meaning.

In the colloquial sense, an indirect tax (such as sales tax, value added tax (VAT), or goods and services tax (GST)) is a tax collected by an intermediary (such as a retail store) from the person who bears the ultimate economic burden of the tax (such as the customer). The intermediary later files a tax return and forwards the tax proceeds to government with the return. In this sense, the term indirect tax is contrasted with a direct tax which is collected directly by government from the persons (legal or natural) on which it is imposed. Some commentators have argued that "a direct tax is one that cannot be shifted by the taxpayer to someone else, whereas an indirect tax can be."[1]

An indirect tax may increase the price of a good so that consumers are actually paying the tax by paying more for the products.[2] Examples would be fuel, liquor, and cigarette taxes. An excise duty on motor cars is paid in the first instance by the manufacturer of the cars; ultimately the manufacturer transfers the burden of this duty to the buyer of the car in form of a higher price. Thus, an indirect tax is such which can be shifted or passed on.

The term indirect tax has a different meaning for U.S. constitutional law purposes. See Direct tax; see also Excise.

Notes

  1. ^ Britannica Online, Article on Taxation. See also Financial Dictionary Online, Article on Direct taxes.
  2. ^ Financial Dictionary Online, Article on Indirect taxes.

See also

External links

VAT in the UK

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Simple English


An indirect tax is a tax that is paid as part of a product. Many countries tax gasoline or cigarettes, but they do so indirectly. Because of the tax, the product will be more expensive. In turn, the shops will then pay the tax for the number of packets of cigarettes they sold, or for the amount of gasoline. This is opposed to a direct tax, which is directly paid by the consumer.


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