Direct tax

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Description:
The term direct tax generally means a tax paid directly to the government by the persons on whom it is imposed.

General meaning

In the general sense, a direct tax is one paid directly to the government by the persons (juristic or natural) on whom it is imposed (often accompanied by a tax return filed by the taxpayer). Examples include some income taxes, some corporate taxes, and transfer taxes such as estate (inheritance) tax and gift tax. In this sense, a direct tax is contrasted with an indirect tax or "collected" tax (such as sales tax or value added tax (VAT)); a "collected" tax is one which is collected by intermediaries who turn over the proceeds to the government and file the related tax return. 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."Britannica Online, Article on . See also Financial Dictionary Online, Article on .

An 18th century writing about the tax explained:



U.S. constitutional law sense

In the United States, the term "direct tax" has a different meaning for the purposes of constitutional law. Traditionally, a direct tax in the constitutional sense means a tax on property "by reason of its ownership"See, e.g., the United States Supreme Court case of Fernandez v. Wiener, in which the Court stated that a direct tax is a tax "which falls upon the owner merely because he is...
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