Tax policy and the design of a single tax system

This article traverses the grounds of a tax system and the policies/motivations behind it, its implications for private decision-making, the nature of the arguments favouring a simple tax system and what, in practice, could approach such a system without being overtly simplistic. The article first reviews some of the theoretical underpinnings of taxation and then examines the issues relating to the design of a system consisting of taxes on consumption, production, trade and income. The article also considers the issues relating to tax assignment among different levels of government. From these various aspects, the author draws conclusions regarding the feasibility and appropriate nature of a tax system that is simple, compatible with minimizing efficiency costs, not too inequitable in its effects, and adequate in terms of revenue productivity.