Lawyer tax

Many years ago, I encountered a prosperous attorney who was (and probably still is) pushing for a national sales tax covering all goods and services.  This was before Bush’s tax panel outlined in some detail the exhorbitant rates that would need to be applied if such a tax was intended to replace the federal income tax, but I had a general sense that it wasn’t a workable replacement.  So I asked this lawyer whether he intended that such a tax would cover legal services.  He said that he really hadn’t made up his mind about that.

There are good arguments why legal services oughta be exempt, but the same can be said about all other services and all goods, too.  So I was kind of pleased to note that the Province of Ontario will now apply the 13% “harmonized sales tax” to legal services, while continuing to exempt newspapers and shoe repairs.  (British Columbia will do the opposite.)

Taxing billboards– a win-win?

Since billboard value is a function of location in the community, it’s only fair that the community should collect most of the rental value.  Accordingly, the City of Toronto expects to collect C$10.4 million/year with a tax of $850/$24,000 per billboard, “depending on size and type.” Naturally, the billboarders object, saying that they’ll pass the tax on to landowners and advertisers (which somehow makes it illegal– but I do not understand U. S. law, let alone Canadian).  But of course, all taxes are ultimately paid by landowners. Perhaps the tax will reduce the number of billboards, but most citizens are likely to survive this loss.

Mayor Daley, being in a taxing mood, might want to consider this, if his obligations to the billboarders aren’t excessive. Chicago Reporter has found many illegal billboards in the city, and that politicians receive, not only free space, but cash contributions, from the billboarders.

ht Frank Dejong