Ability-To-Pay Taxation

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DEFINITION of 'Ability-To-Pay Taxation'

Taxation in the form of a progressive tax. The ability-to-pay principle in taxation maintains that taxes should be levied according a taxpayer's ability to pay. This progressive taxation approach places an increased tax burden on individuals, partnerships, companies, corporations, trusts and certain estates with higher incomes. The theory is that individuals who earn more money can afford to pay more in taxes.

BREAKING DOWN 'Ability-To-Pay Taxation'

Ability-to-pay taxation requires that higher earning individuals pay a higher percentage of income towards taxes. The tax rate increases as a percentage along with income. For example, in the United States in 2010, a tax rate of 10% applied to incomes between $0 - $8,375; the tax rate increased incrementally up to 35% for those whose incomes were $373,651 or greater (these figures are based on single filers). Critics of ability-to-pay taxation state that the progressive tax reduces the incentive to earn more money, and penalizes those whose hard work and ingenuity have helped them earn higher incomes.

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