A good tax system should consist of taxes which conform to the canons of taxation discussed above. It is not necessary that each single tax should satisfy all the canons of taxation.
But the system as a whole should be equitable. Its burden should fall on the broadest shoulders.
It should also be economical so that the work of collection is done as cheaply as possible. It should not hamper the development of trade and industry. It should, on the other hand, assist the economic development of the country.
The government should be certain of its revenue. The tax system should be based on comprehensive and up-to-date statistical information, so that accurate forecasting is made possible. The tax system should not be a mere leap in the-dark. Its effects should be calculable with a reasonable precision. Also, the tax system, as a whole, should be Convenient, i.e., felt as little as possible. The tax system- should also be simple, financially adequate and elastic so that it can respond to the new needs of the State. It should not be rigid like our land Revenue which is fixed for 30 or 40 years.
The ideal of simplicity may lead us to advocate a single tax. But the single tax Mil expose the tax system to other serious objections. It is, therefore, agreed that a tax system should be as much broad-based as possible. There should be diversity in the system. But we do not want too great a multiplicity. We do not agree, therefore, with Arthur Young when he says, “If I were to define a good system of taxation, it should be that of bearing lightly on an infinite number of points, heavily on none.”
Further, the tax system should be efficient from the administrative point of view. It should be simple to administer. There should be little scope for, evasion or accumulation of arrears. It should be fool-proof and knave-proof. Chances of corruption should be minimized.
Another important characteristic of a good tax system is that it should be a harmonious whole. It should be truly a system and not a mere collection of isolated taxes, every tax should fit in properly in the system as a whole so that it is a part of a connected and integrated system.
Each tax should occupy a definite and due place in the financial structure. For example, along with an estate duty or death duty, there might be a gift tax; otherwise the rich may avoid death duty by gifting their wealth to their sons and daughters. Nor should taxes pull in different directions. For example, imposition of a protective duty and a -countervailing excise duty do not go well together.
From the point of view of ensuring economic stability, it is necessary that the tax system must be progressive in relation to changes in national income. This .means that, when national income rises, an increasing part of the rise in income should automatically accrue to the tax authorities, and when national is increasing, as in a depression, the tax revenue should fall faster than the fall of national income
This characteristic of the tax system will ensure that, when national income is increasing, as during the boom, a large part of it is being drawn into the tax net so as to moderate the rise in the purchasing power of the people, helping thereby to keep the price rise in check.
Similarly, in depression tax revenues should fall faster than income so that people’s purchasing power does not fall as fast as their pre-tax income. This will serve to moderate the extent of decline in economic activity during a depression. Thus, an overall progressive tax system is an important factor in ensuring economic stability.
According to the Cambridge economist Kaldor, who was-invited to report on the Indian tax system, there are three main considerations- that should be taken into account in framing an effective tax system, viz., equity, economic effects, administrative efficiency. From the point of view of equity, the most important consideration is that the tax system should not contain a systematic bias in favour of particular groups of tax-payers and against others.
From the economic effects of taxation, the major consideration is to prevent the tax system from becoming too much of a dis-incentive on effort, initiative or enterprise. From the point of view of administrative efficiency, all loopholes for evasion should be plugged and the main requirements are simplicity and comprehensiveness embracing all forms of beneficial receipts, a single comprehensive return, self-checking system of taxation and an automatic reporting system.