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What is a Tax Cut?

By Felicia Dye
Updated May 17, 2024
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A tax cut refers to a government authority’s decision to either reduce or eliminate a category of taxation. As taxes serve as a means of income, that authority will experience a reduction of revenue as a result if a measure is not implemented to get the funds from another source. The motive for cutting taxes is usually to benefit a certain group or a certain cause. People who will directly benefit are usually in favor of the idea, but it is common for there to be substantial amounts of opposition from others. This commonly results in the matter becoming one that government representatives cannot ignore.

Taxes are generally an essential revenue stream. Governments at all levels tend to use various categories of taxation to provide funds to maintain and serve their jurisdictions. These funds allow governments to engage in a wide range of activities, such as maintaining militaries, providing social services, and paying public officials. As a tax cut lowers a government’s income from a particular source, it is often necessary to respond with controversial measures.

For example, heated debates may ensue because a tax cut for one group may be balanced by a tax increase for another group. Corporations may, for instance, be charged more so that single parents can pay less during periods in which the economy is troubled. It is also common for a tax cut to result in the need to reduce or eliminate certain services or to impose costs on services that were once free. This leads to controversy among the individuals who utilize those programs or who will lose their jobs as a result.

There are a number of reasons why a government may feel that a tax cut is beneficial. It may be done to attempt to promote economic recovery, for example. The government may identify certain groups that are bearing extreme financial burdens. Another reason for a tax cut is to encourage certain parties to support a government initiative, such as to engage in research and development or to revive an industry.

It is not uncommon for a tax cut to become political. The government representatives who deal most directly with the public are often held accountable by their constituents. When those individuals are adversely affected by a proposed cut or recent cut, it may affect whether they vote for their representatives in the future, or at least the representatives may fear that it will have such an effect. This often motivates government representatives to support or reject a tax cut based on its popularity.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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