A Taxonomy of Taxes

Courtesy of Sanjoy Mahajan, I give you his taxonomy of taxes, ranked from most regressive to most progressive:

  • Poll Tax
  • Sales Tax
  • Flat Income Tax
  • Progressive Income Tax
  • Flat Wealth Tax
  • Progressive Wealth Tax

For examples and explanations of each, check out Sanjoy’s post on the Freakonomics blog. It’s a great insight into different types taxes and their impacts on different income groups.



  1. RSMattson · · Reply

    I’m rusty on the subject, but where would a Value Added Tax fall?

  2. I’d say in the ballpark of the sales tax, though with the additional taxes applied to producers along the chain of supply, I would consider it to be a little more progressive than a regular sales tax (provided you are willing to consider producers to be “high incomes”).

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