10 Ways Taxation Policies Impact the Economy
Taxation policies are nothing but a collection of rules and regulations used to govern the country's tax structure, which can directly affect the economy. These policies deal with anything related to tax (tax deductions, exemptions, allocations, etc.) and primarily aims to generate revenue for the government. However, the effects of taxation policies are multifaceted and rather complex. It can leave both positive and negative effects.
Read on to explore the ways taxation policies impact the economy –
The Positive Impacts
This is the first and foremost function of taxation policies. The government uses the tax money to fund its projects and social welfare programs. Taxation policies help the government to raise money for the same. The government also uses this revenue to improve infrastructure, education, defence, and healthcare. The huge amount of revenue that taxation policies bring impacts the government's ability to finance its initiatives and programs.
Redistribution of Income and Wealth
Taxes are also used to redistribute wealth and income within a society. In a progressive tax system, individuals with higher incomes pay a higher percentage of their income as tax. On the flip side, economically poor people pay much lesser taxes. That way, taxation policies can balance wealth inequality and restore parity of income by strategic redistribution of wealth.
Incentives for Work and Investment
Taxation policies influence the decision of businesses and individuals to work, spend, save, and invest. It decides how much risk one should take while making any financial decision. Lower income tax rates, capital gains and higher business profit margins act as incentives for businesses and individuals to work harder, save more, and invest smartly, leading to overall economic growth.
Taxation policies play a significant role in determining how much one should consume. It directly affects any new and old entrepreneurial ventures and the rate of investments. For example, if the tax rates are higher, it will reduce the disposable income. With lesser money available in their hand, they will be forced to spend less, thus slowing down economic activity. Similarly, if the tax policies are designed to increase the disposable income of the people, it stimulates fresh investments and more entrepreneurial ventures. So, taxation policies directly affect productivity and economic growth.
With proper taxation policies, governments can accumulate enough revenue to save more than their obligatory expenses. When the cash reserves of the country increase, they don’t have to rely on external borrowings anymore. So this leads to a fiscal surplus, and the economy becomes stable in the long run.
Foreign investment and competitiveness
Most foreign countries that are economically strong look to invest in countries with attractive foreign trade laws. If other countries become attracted to invest, it creates a huge opportunity for a financial boom in the economy. Foreign Direct Investments are hard to secure, and with lower corporate tax rates or incentivising specific sectors encourages foreign tycoons to come forth. Foreign investments can create long-lasting benefits in developing nations. With more factories, it creates more job opportunities, along with the introduction of the latest technologies. Additionally, taxation policies also affect the competitiveness of the country by impacting the operational costs and ease of compliance.
Inflation can potentially make or break an economy. While a lack of demand is not desirable for an economy, excessive demand can also be dangerous. To ensure that the prices of the goods don’t skyrocket, proper taxation policies are required. So governments design taxes to deliberately increase the price of goods and services. This discourages people from excessive spending and keeps the inflationary pressures in check.
Taxation policies can affect consumption patterns and individual behaviours. For example, if the prices of tobacco increase, the prices of similar products like cigarettes also increase. So someone who used to smoke ten cigarettes gets forced to smoke fewer cigarettes. Sometimes governments deliberately increase the cost of sugary drinks to control consumption as a part of their public health initiatives. Similarly, incentivising tax slabs for eco-friendly business sectors encourages more energy-efficient and renewable tech companies to start businesses.
Tax Efficiency and Compliance
Complex tax systems can impact whether the citizens will comply with the taxation rules. It also determines the efficiency of tax administration. For example, if the taxation rules are too burdensome, many people can try to evade tax, which can hit the revenue numbers. So, a simple and transparent tax policy is preferred to reduce administrative costs and boost the number of compliant taxpayers.
When taxes are levied on luxury goods or activities that are detrimental to society, it can discourage people from buying such items or committing such activities. Earning from these sources helps the government to help society instead as they can redirect those funds to various social welfare plans, healthcare, education, etc.
The Negative Impacts
Although taxation policies mostly have positive impacts on society, there are certain negative impacts too, like –
Reduced Incentives for Work, Investment and Innovation
Higher tax rates reduce the incentives for individuals to work, save or invest. If the tax rates are too high, businesses and individuals feel discouraged from engaging in productive activities or taking risks. Eventually, that leads to decreasing labour supply and lower investments, which slows economic growth.
Negative Impacts on Business Competitiveness
Tax burdens like corporate income tax can negatively affect business competitiveness in a country. High taxes reduce the after-tax profits, thus limiting their ability to invest and expand. Eventually, such taxation policies can discourage local and foreign businesses from relocating to other areas resulting in an economic slowdown.
These are the few ways in which taxation can affect the economy of a country both in a positive and negative light.