Sliding scale fees

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For the science fiction novel, see Sliding Scales.

Sliding scale fees are variable costs for products, services, or taxes based on one's ability to pay. Such fees are thereby reduced for those who have lower incomes or less money to spare after their personal expenses, regardless of income.

A business or organization may have various motivations for offering a product at a sliding scale. These may include the desire to be charitable to those less able to afford the product or service, their ability to get a tax deduction for offering their services as charity, their ability to benefit from the revenue even from a partial payment, their retention of a longtime customer/client, or referrals that such a customer/client may provide.

Some businesses or organizations may have their profits that would have been obtained from a full-price sale subsidized by some other means. These may include charging a higher cost to a wealthier client, obtaining grants from government agencies or non-profit organizations, or obtaining a tax deduction.[citation needed]

For example, medical fees may depend on a patient's income.[1] Andrew Carnegie imposed this on his workers during the Homestead Strike.[2] Some child-adoption agencies collect legal fees (normally very expensive) on a sliding scale, so that couples across a wider range of incomes are able to adopt children.[3] Sliding-scale fees are also often charged by lawyers, places of worship, and for tuition at educational institutions.