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November 24, 2020 

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HEDGING: Buying or selling futures contracts to protect against price changes. This is a common form of "insurance" used by those who produce various commodities, such as wheat, cattle, coffee, and natural gas, as well as those who buy these commodities as inputs.

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PER UNIT TAX:

A tax specified as a percentage of the quantity of a good, service, asset, or other activity. Per unit taxes are often imposed on specific goods or markets. A common per unit tax is that levied on gasoline. People pay a given tax for each gallon of gasoline purchased, regardless of the price of gasoline. An alternative is an ad valorem tax, with is a tax specified as a percentage of the value or price of a good.
A per unit tax is a tax in which the tax base is specified as a physical quantity rather than a dollar value. If, for example, the federal government places a per unit tax of 10 cents on gasoline, then buyers and/or sellers are responsible for paying an extra 10 cents on each gallon sold, regardless of the price.

If you buy 10 gallons of gasoline for your small compact car, then the federal government collects a total tax of $1 (10 cents x 10 gallons). If your close friends buys 20 gallons for a larger SUV, then the then the federal government collects a total tax of $2 (10 cents x 20 gallons). It matters not that you paid $3 a gallon and your friend paid only $2.50.

This type of tax can be illustrated using the following tax calculation equation. The total tax collected is the product of the tax rate and the tax base. A per unit tax exists if the tax base is specified as a physical quantity. In the previous example, the tax rate is the per unit tax of 10 cents per gallon of gasoline and the tax base is the quantity of gasoline, the number of gallons sold.

tax=tax basextax rate
Per unit taxes are generally applied to specific goods, services, or other activities, usually for very specific reasons. A common reason is to invoke the allocation effect as a means of discouraging the production, consumption, or exchange of the particular commodity.

For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency might impose a per unit tax on sulfur dioxide emissions from coal fire power plants as a means of discouraging pollution. Fewer emissions mean fewer taxes. In this case, the value of the emissions is not particularly relevant, only the total quantity.

An alternative type of tax is an ad valorem tax, in which the tax base is specified as a dollar value. An ad valorem tax, in contrast to a per unit tax, depends on price. A higher price means a higher tax.

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Recommended Citation:

PER UNIT TAX, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2020. [Accessed: November 24, 2020].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | taxation principles | ad valorem tax | tax effects | revenue effect | allocation effect | tax equity | ability-to-pay principle | benefit principle | horizontal equity | vertical equity | tax proportionality | proportional tax | progressive tax | regressive tax | tax efficiency | tax incidence | tax wedge | deadweight loss |


Or For A Little Background...

     | taxes | government functions | efficiency | equity | distribution standards | public finance | allocation |


And For Further Study...

     | public choice | good types | market failures | public goods: demand | public goods: efficiency | tax multiplier | personal tax and nontax payments | transfer payments |


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