Examples of regressive taxes (2023)

The tax system where persons of the country are taxed at the same rate regardless of their income level and examples of which include sales tax, flat tax, property tax, occupancy tax, sin tax and all those taxes where there is an apartment tax rate.

This system takes a larger percentage of the low-income group's income than the high-income group's income. Some of the products on which theregressive taxesRegressive taxesA regressive tax is the tax system in which all citizens of the country are taxed at the same rate, regardless of their income level. As a result, a more significant percentage of the income of the low-income group is collected as tax compared to the high-income group.Continue readingApplicable are food, alcohol, tobacco, parking permits, museum entrance tickets, public park entrance tickets, entrance tickets to other public places and tolls, etc.

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  • Example of a regressive tax
    • Top 4 Examples of Regressive Taxes
      • #1 – Sales Tax
      • #2 – Property Taxes
      • #3 – Usage Fees
      • #4 – Sin Tax
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Examples of regressive taxes (1)

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(Video) What’s The Difference Between Progressive And Regressive Taxes?

Top 4 Examples of Regressive Taxes

#1 – Sales Tax

In case ofVATVATThe government imposes a sales tax on the consumption of various goods and services as a percentage that is added to the products and services from which the government derives revenue and contributes to the good of the company. In the United States, 38 different states have different taxes, ranging from Alaska (1.76%) to Tennessee (9.45%).Continue reading, the same tax rate is applied uniformly by governments to all consumers based on the products they buy, regardless of their income or earnings.

For example, two people went to the grocery store to buy some items. Each person buys $450 worth of groceries a month from the grocery store, on which the state tax rate is 7.5%. In this case, both people pay $33.75 ($450 * 7.5%) for the tax portion. In one year, the total sales tax amount would be $405 for each person.

Now the first person makes $1,000 per month and the second person makes $10,000 per month. The amount of sales tax affects both people differently. For the first person, the tax percentage he pays on his income is 3.38% [(33.75 / 1,000) *100] and for the second person, the tax percentage he pays on his income is 0.34% [( 33.75 / 10,000) *100] only.

In this case, although both people are subject to the same tax rate, the lower-income person has to pay a higher percentage of their income as tax, while the higher-income person has to pay a lower percentage of their income as tax, making the tax regressive .

(Video) ANALYSIS: Progressive vs Regressive Taxes

#2 –property taxes

Taxes on the property acquired by private individuals are levied at a flat rate on the basis of the asset, regardless of the income generated. So if two people buy homes of the same value in the same neighborhood, they will have to pay the same property tax regardless of their income level.

For example, two people X and Y with incomes of $200,000 and $500,000 bought a property in a nearby location with the same dimensions and value. Now the tax rate on the wealth is the same for both people, regardless of the income they earned during the period.

This makes property tax a regressive tax as it is based on the value of the property and not the income of the person buying it.

#3 – Usage Fees

Utilization fees include the fees paid by individuals to access places such as museum tickets, public park tickets, other public place tickets and tolls, etc., as well as the fees for obtaining licenses and ID cards.

(Video) Three Types of Tax Systems

For example, Mr. X and Mr. Y, together with their families, each with 4 members, went to the museum funded by the government and paid the $20 per person as the entrance fee, which is $80 per family. Mr. X's income is around $20,000 per year, while Mr. Y's income is around $160,000 per year. The amount of the user fees affects both people differently.

For Mr. X, the tax percentage he pays on his income is 0.4% [(80 / 20,000) *100] and for Mr. Y, the tax percentage he pays on his income is only 0.05% [(80 /160,000) *100]. Thus, Mr. X's fee amounts to their larger share of income than that of the Y's, who earn around $160,000 per year. Thus, usage fees are the regressive tax imposed by the government.

#4 – Sin Tax

The taxes levied on goods deemed harmful to society are known as sin taxes. These include commodities such as alcohol, tobacco etc. and are strongly regressive as consumption differs between high-income and high-income population groups. Also, a person who earns less generally consumes more harmful products compared to people who earn more.

For example, Mr. A has an income of $5,000 per year and spends $500 per year buying alcohol, while Mr. Y earns $500,000 per year and also spends $500 per year buying alcohol. Both individuals are subject to tax on $500 at the same rate, regardless of the income they earn. A sin tax is thus considered a regressive tax.

(Video) Regressive vs Progressive taxes


Thus, with the regressive tax, the tax rate or overall tax stays the same and does not change as the income level of the individual increases. It tends to weigh more heavily on low-income people in the economy than on high-income earners. On average, the regressive tax system is not favored, and various moves toward progressive taxation have been considered by government officials and various policymakers. Some countries have eliminated sales tax on some basic necessities such as groceries, as the low-income part of the country spends more on groceries than the high-income group.

Other countries have adopted the system to send the checks to give awaya discountA discountA rebate is cashback for a purchase as an incentive to complete a transaction. Discounts will be offered after the sale. Thus, it is a form of marketing strategy provided to the customer to facilitate future transactions.Continue readingon the tax if they fall below a certain income limit.

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This article was a guide to regressive tax examples. Here we discuss top 4 examples of a regressive tax including property tax, sin tax, sales tax, royalty, etc. Read the following articles to learn more about accounting –

  • Calculate consumption tax
  • Calculation of proportional tax
  • progressive tax
  • Deferred Income Tax
  • surcharge


What is the most common regressive tax? ›

Excise taxes are particularly regressive. Households in the lowest one-fifth by income faced an average federal excise tax rate that is nine times greater than the average excise tax rate faced by the top 1 percent of households.

What is considered a regressive tax? ›

A regressive tax is a tax imposed in such a manner that the tax rate decreases as the amount subject to taxation increases. "Regressive" describes a distribution effect on income or expenditure, referring to the way the rate progresses from high to low, so that the average tax rate exceeds the marginal tax rate.

Which is an example of a regressive tax quizlet? ›

State sales tax is an example of a regressive tax.

Is the lottery a regressive tax? ›

With little exception, research has shown that state-sponsored lotteries are regressive in the aggregate, in that lottery sales do not increase proportionately with area income.

Is Medicare a regressive tax? ›

Payroll taxes supporting Social Security and Medicare are regressive, as lower-income groups face higher average rates.

Is Social Security a regressive tax? ›

The Social Security tax is a regressive tax, meaning that a larger portion of lower-income earners' total income is withheld, compared with that of higher-income earners. 11 Consider two employees, Izzy and Jacob. Izzy earns $85,000 for the tax year 2022 and has a 6.2% Social Security tax withheld from his pay.

What are examples of progressive and regressive taxes? ›

A progressive tax imposes a higher tax rate on higher taxable incomes than lower ones. A regressive tax takes a larger percentage of income from low-income individuals than from those with high income. A sales tax is an example of a regressive tax.

Do any states have a regressive tax? ›

Some states, such as California and Vermont as well as the District of Columbia, have very progressive income taxes. Others have only nominally progressive taxes. Very few states, such as Alabama and Pennsylvania, actually have effectively regressive income taxes.

What is regressive example? ›

Regressive taxes place more burden on low-income earners. They take a higher percentage of income on the poor than on high-income earners. Taxes on most consumer goods, sales, gas, and Social Security payroll are examples of regressive taxes.

Which country has regressive tax? ›

Scandinavian countries like Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, and Sweden follow a regressive tax system.

Which of the following is a regressive tax in the US? ›

The U.S. payroll tax (a constant tax on wages up to a certain amount, after which the marginal tax rate is 0%). This is considered a regressive tax since the marginal tax rate decreases as payroll amounts rise.

Why is sales tax an example of a regressive tax? ›

Explain to students that sales taxes are considered regressive because they take a larger percentage of income from low-income taxpayers than from high-income taxpayers.

Is gambling a regressive tax? ›

States like to think of the tax revenue they bring in from legal gambling as free money from heaven, but it amounts to a regressive tax on citizens, aimed most intensely at those who are so desperate for financial salvation that the vanishing hope provided by the idea of hitting the lottery is worth the certainty that ...

Are wealth taxes regressive? ›

The 10% of homeowners with the lowest incomes pay nearly five percent of their incomes in property-wealth taxes. The richest 10% pay less than 2%. Either way, by wealth or by income, property taxes are regressive. And seen this way, by income, there's very little difference among the age groups.

How do you tell if a tax is regressive or progressive? ›

progressive tax—A tax that takes a larger percentage of income from high-income groups than from low-income groups. proportional tax—A tax that takes the same percentage of income from all income groups. regressive tax—A tax that takes a larger percentage of income from low-income groups than from high-income groups.

Is federal estate tax progressive or regressive? ›

The individual and corporate income taxes and the estate tax are all progressive. By contrast, excise taxes are regressive, as are payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare.

Is US income tax progressive or regressive? ›

In the U.S., the federal income tax is progressive. There are graduated tax brackets, with rates ranging from 10% to 37%. In 2022, if you're single and have $15,000 of taxable income, you're in the 12% tax bracket, while if you're single and have taxable income of $600,000, you're in the 37% tax bracket.

Which of the following is the best example of a regressive revenue tax? ›

A regressive tax system affects low-income taxpayers more than high-income taxpayers because it takes a higher percentage of their earnings. A great example of a regressive tax is the 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST).

What are regressive taxes in Texas? ›

Texas has such regressive taxes because it largely depends on its sales tax for revenue. Texas' state sales tax rate of 6.25% is the 13th highest in the union, and local governments can charge an additional 2% if they want, resulting in a total sales tax of up to 8.25%.

Why are sales taxes regressive? ›

Explain to students that sales taxes are considered regressive because they take a larger percentage of income from low-income taxpayers than from high-income taxpayers. To make such taxes less regressive, many states exempt basic necessities such as food from the sales tax.


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