I’m sure I am not the first one to say this, but I haven’t really noticed any extensive discussion of the subject: think about how different the average person’s perspective on income taxes and property taxes would be if, instead of having income taxes withheld from every paycheck and property taxes paid through inclusion with monthly mortgage payments, all taxpayers had to write a check once a year (or even quarterly, as self-employed people do now) for income taxes and once or twice a year (as owners of un-mortgaged properties do now) for property taxes.
It’s an idea that I have thought about before, but it came back to me recently when I learned that in many countries that have a value-added tax, it is actually illegal for providers of goods or services to separate the tax from the price of the goods or services (link is to a Wall Street Journal article that is not accessible directly to non-subscribers). To me, the reason is obvious: there will be much less popular resistance to the tax, and raising the tax will be much easier, when it’s not readily visible to the taxpayer. I’d like to hear a good reason why the tax shouldn’t be readily visible to the taxpayer.
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