A per unit tax, or specific tax, is a tax that is defined as a fixed amount for each unit of a good or service sold, such as cents per kilogram. It is thus proportional to the particular quantity of a product sold, regardless of its price. Excise taxes, for instance, fall into this tax category. By contrast, an ad valorem tax is a charge based on a fixed percentage of the product value. Per unit taxes have administrative advantages when it is easy to measure quantities of the product or service being sold.
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