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Webley, Paul and Ashby, Julie S. (2010) 'The economic psychology of value added tax compliance.' In: Alm, James, Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge and Torgler, Benno, (eds.), Developing Alternative Frameworks for Explaining Tax Compliance. Abingdon: Routledge. (Routledge International Studies in Money and Banking)

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VAT is a tax on consumer expenditure, collected on business transactions and assessed on the value added to goods and services. It applies, with some exceptions (for example, to young children’s clothes and shoes in the UK), to all goods and services that are bought and sold. VAT is a general tax (as it applies, in principle, to all commercial activities) and a consumption tax (as it is paid ultimately by the final consumer). It is not actually a tax on business, though some business owners do see it that way. In fact, whilst VAT is paid to the tax authorities by the seller of the goods or services, the tax is paid by the buyer to the seller as part of the tax and so, in essence, businesses are acting as unpaid tax collectors. VAT was first introduced in France in 1954, and subsequently has been extended, through a series of directives, to cover the whole of the European Union (EU). The system in the EU is now reasonably standardized, although different rates of VAT apply in different EU member states. The minimum standard rate in the EU is 15 percent, though lower rates are applied to certain services. Some goods and services are exempt from VAT throughout the EU (e.g., postal services, insurance, betting). In addition to spreading throughout Europe (member states are required to introduce VAT, so the increase in membership of the EU has inevitably increased the number of countries that use this system), VAT has also been introduced in a large number of other countries, notably China (Yeh, 1997), and India (after many delays) in 2005, so that now over 130 countries world-wide operate VAT. In the Caribbean, for example, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, and Antigua have all introduced VAT in the past two years. Other countries have introduced taxes that are classified as value added taxes, such as Australia, which now operates a General Sales Tax (GST). The introduction of VAT has been the major tax reform around the world in the past 25 years, and VAT is now of global significance and impact (Ebrill et al., 2001).

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Directorate
ISBN: 9780415576987
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2010 10:51

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