1. Прочитайте и переведите письменно текст.
The primary function of taxation is, of course, to raise revenue to finance government expenditure, but taxes can also have other purposes. Indirect excise duties, for example, can be designed to dissuade people from smoking, drinking alcohol, and so on.
There is always a lot of debate as to the fairness of tax systems. Business profits, for example, are generally taxed twice: companies pay tax on their profits (corporation tax in Britain, income tax in the USA), and shareholders pay income tax on dividends. Income taxes in most countries are progressive, and are one of the ways in which governments can redistribute wealth. The problem with progressive taxes is that the marginal rate – the tax people pay on any additional income – is always high, which is generally a disincentive to both working and investing. On the other hand, most sales taxes are slightly regressive, because poorer people need to spend a larger proportion of their income on consumption than the rich.
The higher the tax rates, the more people are tempted to cheat, but there is a substantial ´black´ or ´underground´ economy nearly everywhere. In Italy, for example, self-employed people – whose income is more difficult to control than that of company employees – account for more than half of national income. Lots of people also have undeclared, part-time evening jobs (some people call this ´moonlighting´) with small and medium-sized family firms, on which no one pays any tax or national insurance.
To reduce income tax liability, some employers give highly-paid employees lots of perks or benefits instead of taxable money, such as company cars, free health insurance, and subsidized lunches. Legal ways of avoiding tax, such as these, are known as loopholes in tax laws. Life insurance policies, pension plans and other investments by which individuals can postpone the payment of tax, are known as tax shelters. Donations to charities that can be subtracted from the income on which tax is calculated are described as tax-deductible.
Companies have a variety of ways of avoiding tax on profits. They can bring forward capital expenditure (on new factories, machines, and so on) so that at the end of the year all the profits have been used up; this is known as making a tax loss. Multinational companies often set up their head offices in countries such as Liechtenstein, Monaco, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas, where taxes are low; such countries are known as tax havens. Criminal organizations, meanwhile, tend to pass money through a series of companies in very complicated transactions in order to disguise its origin from tax inspectors – and the police; this is known as laundering money or money laundering.
2. Ответьте письменно на вопросы по тексту.
a) What are the main functions of taxation?
b) Are tax systems always fair? Why?
c) What are the advantages and the disadvantages of progressive taxation?
d) How do companies avoid paying taxes?
e) Do many countries have underground economy?
3. Прочитайте текст “Taxation” еще раз. Перепишите утверждения, данные ниже, и укажите, являются ли они верными или неверными (True or False). Подтвердите свое мнение цитатами из текста.
a) Taxation is the main source of revenue for the government.
b) Taxes can be designed both to discourage and to encourage spending.
c) The same amount of money can be taxed more than once.
d) Progressive taxes may discourage people from working extra hours.
e) Sales taxes are unfair because poor people spend more than the rich.
f) The Italian government knows that about one seventh of national income escapes taxation.
g) ´Loopholes´ are a common form of tax evasion.
h) If you pay a lot of your income into a pension fund or a life insurance policy you never have to pay tax on it.
i) A company that makes an unusually large profit during a tax year might quickly decide to spend it, for example, on a new factory