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Taxation And Sovereignity Essay

2875 words - 12 pages

Taxation is said to be one of the key governance tools of any state including the upholding of Zambians sovereignty.

INTRODUCTION

The most fundamental function of taxation is raising revenue to pay for governmental expenses and programs. "Taxes are necessary to raise revenue for public goods and infrastructure, as well as to provide other sorts of public services conducive to general welfare and economic growth." Tax revenues pay for the necessary goods – like national defense or a legal system – that an unregulated market cannot provide by itself. More often overlooked is the role of taxation as a catalyst for the development of responsive and accountable government, and for the ...view middle of the document...

The power to tax is the claim of ownership and control over man and his possessions, and this claim of ownership is the claim of sovereignty. This can be understood by examining the state's claim to the power to tax. Every tax by the state on both man and his property is, in essence, the claim of sovereignty. It is the claim by the state that it has ownership of, and control over, man and his possessions. If a man refuses to pay the tax required by the state, the state can deny that individual the use of his property and, at times, his life and liberty.

Imposition of taxation in Zambia is embodied in Article 100 of the Constitution which states that ….. subject to the provisions of this Article, no taxation shall be imposed or altered except by or under an Act of Parliament.

MAIN BODY

Taxation is typically the main means by which governments support themselves and provide public goods. The ability and need of the state to tax is easily conflated with the concept of sovereignty - it is difficult to conceive of a modern nation state that could sustain itself and protect its people from physical or economic harm without raising revenue through taxation of some kind. Sovereignty in the relations between States signifies independence. Independence in regard to a portion of the globe is the right to exercise therein, to the exclusion of any other State, the functions of State’. To speak of tax sovereignty is generally to suggest that taxation is an inherent or essential component of sovereign status. No function is more at the core of government than its system of taxation. Taxation is so essential to sovereignty that autonomy in designing the tax system deserves greater protection than autonomy in other regulatory areas. Therefore, sovereign status includes a right to tax in some form, so that infringing on the right of taxation is an infringement on sovereignty itself.

Consistent with the general international law principles laid out above, a state’s right to tax is generally accepted as not exclusive but conjunctive. The best evidence of this recognition is that countries do not generally attempt to prevent other countries from taxing their people or within their territory, so long as the other country can claim some plausible connection to the item or person being taxed. This suggests that countries have a strong respect for sovereign entitlements, including over taxation, held by other countries. This respect for tax sovereignty may also be articulated as recognition of sovereign duty—i.e., states have a duty to respect the sovereign right of other states to tax, even to the extent of not interfering with extra-territorial claims based on currently-accepted jurisdictional connections.

Taxation can be coercive, it can be entwined with corruption, and it can be excessive. It is not a unilaterally positive force for governance, as peasants have pointed out in tax revolts around the world and throughout history. Yet it is an...

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