Single tax

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A single tax is a system of taxation based mainly or exclusively on one tax, typically chosen for its special properties, often being a tax on land value.[1] The idea was proposed independently by John Locke and Baruch Spinoza. The French physiocrats later coined the term impôt unique because of the unique characteristics of land and rent.

Pierre Le Pesant, sieur de Boisguilbert and Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban also proposed a single tax, but unlike the physiocrats, they did not believe that land had unique taxation properties, so they instead proposed a flat tax on all incomes.[2] $ In the late 19th and early 20th Century, a populist single tax movement emerged which also wanted to impose a single tax on land values and natural resources, but for somewhat different reasons.[3] This "Single Tax" movement later became known as Georgism, a proposal for a tax system with revenue based exclusively on land (economics) and natural resource rents.

There have been other proposals for a single tax concerning property, goods, or income.[4] More recently others have made proposals for a single tax based on other revenue models, such as the FairTax proposal for a consumption tax and the Flat tax proposals on personal incomes.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "English definition of “single tax”". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Steiner, Phillippe (2003) "Physiocracy and French Pre-Classical Political Economy", Chapter 5. in eds. Biddle, Jeff E, Davis, Jon B, & Samuels, Warren J.: A Companion to the History of Economic Thought. Blackwell Publishing, 2003.
  3. ^ Young, Nichols (1916). The single tax movement in the United States. Princeton University Press. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  4. ^ Seligman. "The Income Tax". Political Science Quarterly 9 (4): 610–648. 
  5. ^ Calls for single 30% income tax rate