The difficulties which have been considered in the foregoing pages have weighed heavily upon the minds of fiscal students and officials who have been interested in a greater degree of justice and simplification in the tax system as a whole. Attempts have been made to formulate schemes which have been called "model tax systems." If only one political unit were to be considered, this could be done with comparative ease. Where there are as many competing jurisdictions as are to be found in the United States, however, the difficulties which are encountered by one who attempts to formulate a tax system which embodies the principles of justice, simplicity, and adequacy can be readily imagined. After much consideration and deliberation, a committee which worked under the auspices of the National Tax Association formulated a plan which embodies these principles in a high degree. The model tax system, as given by this committee, is worthy of the study of those who may have occasion to be interested in tax reform. The report embodies the following principles:1
(1) Every person having taxable ability should pay some sort of direct personal tax to the government under which he is domiciled, and from which he receives the personal benefits that government confers.
(2) Tangible property, by whomsoever owned, should be taxed by the jurisdiction in which it is located, because it there receives protection and other governmental benefits and services.
(3) Business carried on for profit in any locality should be taxed for the benefits it receives. If the owners of the business are residents of the state, this principle need not be appealed to, since the ordinary methods of taxation may be considered to provide for such a case.
(4) A personal income tax is the best method of enforcing the personal obligation of the citizen for the support of the government under which he lives. This tax may be levied only upon persons, and in the states where they are domiciled.
(5) There should be a tax upon tangible property, levied exclusively at the place where such property is located. Intangible property of all descriptions should be exempt from taxes.
(6) A properly constituted business tax should be a part of the system.
(7) Much improvement must be accomplished in fiscal administration.
1 Proceedings of the Twelfth Conference of the National Tax Association, pp. 426-470.