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TAX INCIDENCE: The ultimate payment of a tax. Many taxes are initially paid by one person, but passed along through production and consumption activities until it finally reaches someone else. An obvious example is the sales tax. While officially paid by the retail store (they write the check to the government), it's tacked on to the prices paid by consumers. Consumers, thus, bear the lion's share of most sales taxes. The incidence of other taxes is not quite so obvious. Some taxes are paid by producers early in production such as severance taxes on oil extraction without the knowledge of consumers, who end up paying through higher prices. As a general rule taxes are passed through the system until they reach someone (usually consumers) who can pass it no further.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time looking for the new strip mall out on the highway looking to buy either a pair of red and purple designer socks or a T-shirt commemorating Thor Heyerdahl's Pacific crossing aboard the Kon-Tiki. Be on the lookout for door-to-door salesmen.
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