Taxation and The Political Dimension
The Tax Issue
Taxation and politics are inextricably inter-twinned, and always have been. Governments need to raise funds by virtue of their own existance. The burning questions, however, are (in a nutshell) 'how much to raise', and 'what to spend it on'. These are the core issues of political debate across the world. Perhaps the other contentious issue is the 'means' of taxation: in other words, WHAT is taxed.
Tax is a "compulsory charge or other levy imposed on an individual or a legal entity by a state", and may be direct (collected from the person who earns the income) or indirect (collected from someone other than the person responsible for paying the taxes) in nature. The fact that taxes are necessary is not disputed in modern day societies. Political disputes arise on all the matters above, however.
Taxation Purposes: What to Spend it On
Taxes, of course, are spent by the state on a variety of functions, these include, but ar enot limited to: miltary/defense; upholding law and order; running the state itself; supporting the economic infrastructure; welfare.
Again, heated political debate usually ensues on how much should be spent in each area, both in real terms and proportionally. A current hot debate is in the area of pensions (SIPPS).
Types of Tax
In the course of history, all sorts of strange taxes have been levied, for example, a tax of Windows in the UK in the middle ages. However, commonly the following are commonly levied: income tax (a tax on income); capital gains tax (a tax on receipt of large sums); Inheritance Tax (a so-called 'death tax'); sales tax (tax on items sold); coproration tax (tax on organizations, usually on profits); property tax (a tax levied when property changes hands);