The value-added tax is a revenue measure indistinguishable in the eyes of taxpayers from a national sales tax. It is widely employed in Europe as a supplement to the income tax. Various forms of a value‐ added tax are at this time (early 1987) being considered in Canada and Japan.The value-added tax raises many important issues of public policy, among them its relation to state and local sales taxes, its effect on international competitiveness, and the relative burdens it places on taxpayers with different incomes.
In this volume Charles McLure expands and updates his earlier discussion of the value-added tax, published by the American Enterprise Institute in 1972. He pays special attention to the business transfer tax, a version of the value-added tax discussed extensively during deliberations on tax reform that is also under serious consideration by Canada.We are pleased to include in this volume a second discussion of the value-added tax by Mark A. Bloomfield, president of the American Council for Capital Formation.
We at AEI believe that a full airing of the value-added tax is especially appropriate at this time. With budget deficits hovering at 5 percent of GNP and federal spending approximately five percentage points above its postwar norm as a share of GNP, the United States faces some important decisions. Either spending by the federal government will have to be curtailed, or revenue will have to be enhanced. In a country having one of the lowest rates of saving in the industrial world, a tax on consumption such as the value-added tax can be expected to receive careful consideration as a revenue source regardless of choices about expenditures.
JOHN H. MAKIN
Director, Fiscal Policy Studies
American Enterprise Institute