The Problem of Agricultural Taxation in West Pakistan and an Alternative Solution: A Comment (Notes & Comments)

Publication Year : 1973

In the Summer 1973 issue of the Pakistan Development Review, Mr. Mohammad Ghaffar Chaudhry [1] has dealt with two very important issues relating to the intersectoral tax equity and the intrasectoral tax equity within the agricultural sector in Pakistan. Using a simple criterion for vertical tax equity that implies that the tax rate rises with per capita income such that the ratio of revenue to income rises at the same percentage rate as per capita income, Mr. Chaudhry found that the agricultural sector is overtaxed in Pakistan. Mr. Chaudhry further found that the land tax is a regressive levy with respect to the farm size. Both findings, if valid, have important policy implications. In this note we argue that the validity of the findings on intersectoral tax equity depends on the treatment of water rate as tax rather than the price of a service provided by the Government and on the shifting assumptions regarding the indirect taxes on imports and domestic production levied by the Central Government. The relevance of the findings on the intrasectoral tax burden would have been more obvious if the tax liability was related to income from land per capita.

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