Limiting the Field of Taxation
This chapter deals with the ways in which a taxed commodity is handled in this country when there is no intention to levy a duty on some consumers. A moment's reflection should be enough for any one to realize that the systems in force for guiding the burdens of indirect taxation into desired channels are much more than administrative detail. This country, more than any other, is vitally concerned with freeing its entrepot trade from customs duties, whilst at the same time making its taxes effective in other directions. When taxes have motives ulterior to revenue, a great deal of unintentional harm can be done to trade if clumsy methods of relief are operating. It is not an over-statement to say that the harm done to the nation by defective methods of exemption can easily be greater than a badly drafted tariff. An ill-conceived tax very quickly becomes obvious; a bad system of exemptions does its damage insidiously.