Taxes are obviously necessary in order for a society to provide public goods and services to its citizens. Unfortunately, taxes also impose costs on citizens both directly (because if an individual gives money to the government, she doesn't have the money any longer) and indirectly (because taxes introduce inefficiency or deadweight loss) into markets.
為了社會能夠向公民提供公共產品和服務,稅收顯然是必要的。不幸的是,稅收也直接(因為如果一個人把錢給政府,她就不再擁有這筆錢了)或間接(因為稅收導致低效率或無謂的損失)地強制公民將資本投入市場。

Because the inefficiency that taxes introduce grows more than proportional to the amount of a tax, it makes sense for the government to structure taxes so that a lot of markets get taxed a little bit rather than so that a few markets get taxed a lot.
因為稅收帶來的低效率增長超過了稅收的比例,所以政府要合理地安排稅收結構,在多個市場少量征稅,而不是在少數市場大量征稅。

Therefore, a number of different taxes exist, and they can be categorized in a number of ways. Let's take a look at some of the common tax breakdowns.
因此,存在許多不同的稅種,它們可以按照多種方式進行分類。讓我們來看看一些常見的稅收細目。

Income Taxes ?
所得稅

An income tax, not surprisingly, is a tax on the money that an individual or household makes.
毫無疑問,所得稅是對個人或家庭的收入征稅。

This income can either come from labor income such as wages, salaries, and bonuses or from investment income such as interest, dividends, and capital gains. Income taxes are generally stated as a percentage of income, and this can vary as the amount of a household's income varies.

這種收入既可以來自勞動所得,如工資、薪水和獎金,也可以來自投資收益,如利息、股利和資本收益。所得稅通常以收入的百分比表示,這個百分比可以隨著家庭收入的變化而變化。

Consumption Taxes
消費稅

Consumption taxes, on the other hand, are levied when an individual or household buys stuff.
另一方面,消費稅是在個人或家庭在購買貨物時征收的。

In the U.S., the most common consumption tax is a sales tax, which is levied as a percentage of the price of most items that are sold to consumers.
在美國,最常見的消費稅是銷售稅(營業稅),它是按銷售給消費者的大多數商品價格的百分比征收的。

In China, the sales tax is replaced by the quite similar value-added tax. (The main difference between a sales tax and a value-added tax is that the latter is levied at each stage of production and is thus levied on both businesses and households.)
在中國,銷售稅被相當類似的增值稅所取代。(銷售稅和增值稅的主要區別在于,增值稅是在生產的每個階段都要征收的,因此對企業和家庭都征收。)

Consumption taxes can also take the form of excise or luxury taxes, which are taxes on specific items (cars, alcohol, etc.) at rates that may differ from the overall sales tax rate. Many e conomists feel that consumption taxes are more efficient than income taxes in fostering economic growth.
營業稅也可以采取消費稅或奢侈品稅的形式,這是針對特定項目(汽車、酒精等)的稅收,稅率可能與總體銷售稅不同。許多經濟學家認為,在促進經濟增長方面,消費稅比所得稅更有效。

Regressive, Proportional, and Progressive Taxes
累退稅,比例稅和累進稅

Taxes can also be categorized as either regressive, proportional, or progressive, and the distinction has to do with the behavior of the tax as the taxable base (such as a household's income or a business' profit) changes:
稅收也可以分為累退型、比例型或累進型,這種區別與稅基變化(如家庭收入或企業利潤)時的納稅行為有關。

A regressive tax is a tax where lower-income entities pay a higher fraction of their income in taxes than do higher-income entities.
累退稅是指低收入實體比高收入實體支付更高比例的稅收。

A proportional tax (sometimes called a flat tax) is a tax where everyone, regardless of income, pays the same fraction of income in taxes.
比例稅(有時稱為固定稅),是指每個人,不論收入如何,都要繳納相同比例的所得稅。

A progressive tax is a tax where lower-income entities pay a lower fraction of their income in taxes than do higher-income entities.
累進稅是一種低收入企業比高收入企業支付更低比例的稅收。

Revenue Taxes versus Sin Taxes
收入稅與罪惡稅

The main function of most taxes is to raise revenue that the government can use to provide goods and services to the public.
大多數稅收的主要功能是增加政府可以用來向公眾提供商品和服務的收入。

Taxes that have this goal are referred to as "revenue taxes." Other taxes, however, are put in place not specifically to raise revenue but instead to correct for negative externalities, or "bad" behaviors, where production and consumption have negative side effects for society.
具有這種目的的稅收被稱為“收入稅”。不過其他稅收并不是專門用來增加收入的,而是用來糾正負外部性或“不良”行為,在這些行為中,生產和消費對社會具有負面影響。

Such taxes are often referred to as "sin taxes," but in more precise economic terms are known as "Pigovian taxes," named after e conomist Arthur Pigou.
這類稅收通常被稱為“罪惡稅”,但在更精確的經濟術語中被稱為“庇古稅”,以經濟學家阿瑟?庇古的名字命名。

Because of their differing objectives, revenue taxes and sin taxes differ in their desired behavioral responses from producers and consumers.
由于目標不同,收入稅和罪惡稅在生產者和消費者期望的行為反應方面不同。

Revenue taxes, on one hand, are viewed as best or most efficient when people don't change their work or consumption behavior very much and instead let the tax just act as a transfer to the government. (A revenue tax is said to have low dead-weight loss in this case.)
一方面,當人們不太改變他們的工作或消費行為,而是只讓稅收作為向政府的轉移時,收入稅被認為是最好或最有效的。(據說,在這種情況下,稅收具有較低的死重量損失。)

A sin tax, on the other hand, is viewed as best when it has a large effect on the behavior of producers and consumers, even if it doesn't raise very much money for the government.
另一方面,如果罪惡稅對生產者和消費者的行為有很大影響,即使它沒有為政府籌集到多少資金,它也被認為是最好的稅。

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(翻譯:雅蘭)

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