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Indirect Tax


An Indirect Tax is a levy that is applied to goods or services rather than on an individual’s income. It’s typically imposed on producers or suppliers who then pass the tax on to consumers indirectly via higher prices. Examples of indirect taxes include value added tax (VAT), goods and services tax (GST), and sales tax.


The phonetics of the keyword “Indirect Tax” is: /ɪnˈdaɪrɛkt tæks/

Key Takeaways

  1. Indirect taxes are essentially expenses that are levied on goods and services, rather than on income or profits. They include Value Added Tax (VAT), goods and services tax (GST), and custom duties among others.
  2. One of the main implications of indirect tax is that it impacts everyone in the economy, regardless of their income level. This is because the tax is applied universally on the consumption of goods and services.
  3. The intention of indirect tax can range from discouraging consumption of certain goods and services, such as tobacco or alcohol, to raising general revenue for the government or specific earmarked funds, such as the environmental damage offset levies.


Indirect tax is a significant term in business and finance as it is a primary source of revenue for government bodies. Indirect taxes, such as sales tax, VAT, or excise duties, are typically levied on goods and services, making them a crucial component of the price paid by consumers. Their implication in the pricing structure indirectly affects consumer behavior, influences business operations, and impacts overall economic stability. By understanding indirect tax, businesses can better forecast their costs and financial obligations, while policymakers can use it as a tool to control inflation, encourage or discourage certain consumption habits, and redistribute wealth in an economy, making it a vital concept in the domain of finance and economics.


Indirect taxes serve a dual purpose in the economy: revenue generation for the government and acting as a tool for economic policy. Revenue from indirect taxes contributes significantly to government income, supporting public spending on sectors such as healthcare, infrastructure, and education. Revenue generated from indirect taxes is a vital element of the fiscal policy as it enables the government to finance its activities and execute its duties for the public good.In addition to this, indirect taxes are a critical instrument for economic policy. These taxes can influence consumer behavior, helping administers manage demand and regulate consumption of certain goods. For example, higher taxes on harmful substances like tobacco and alcohol are intended to dissuade people from purchasing these products, thereby promoting public health. On a broader scale, by strategically adjusting these taxes, governments can help regulate inflation rates, reduce income disparity, and maintain economic stability. Thus, indirect taxes can be leveraged to both raise revenue and achieve social and economic objectives.


1. Sales Tax: This is a common indirect tax which consumers pay when purchasing various goods and services. The tax isn’t directly applied to the income of individuals but is added to the price of items we buy. Once the purchase is made, the vendor collects the tax and sends it to the government.2. Value-Added Tax (VAT): This is another type of indirect tax, which is applied at each stage of the production and distribution process. For example, if a manufacturer produces an item, they would pay a VAT on the materials they used to make it. When a retailer sells that product, consumers pay the VAT that’s included in the product’s price.3. Excise Tax: These are taxes applied to specific goods and services like alcohol, tobacco, and gasoline. The tax is generally included in the price of the product and collected from producers or wholesalers, and indirectly paid by the consumers. These are usually imposed with the aim of reducing the consumption of potentially harmful goods.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an Indirect Tax?

Indirect Tax is a type of tax collected by an intermediary (such as a retail store) from the person who bears the ultimate economic burden of the tax (such as the end consumer). The intermediary later files a tax return and forwards the tax proceeds to the government.

What are some examples of Indirect Taxes?

Examples of Indirect Taxes include Value Added Tax (VAT), Goods and Services Tax (GST), excise tax, sales tax, and customs duty.

How does Indirect Tax differ from Direct Tax?

While Direct Tax is imposed directly on an individual or organization (like income tax or property tax), Indirect Tax is collected from an intermediary who transfers the tax burden to the end consumers of goods or services.

Which type of tax- Direct or Indirect is more regressive?

Indirect Taxes are typically considered regressive because they take a larger percentage of income from low-income earners than from high-income earners. This is because the tax is applied uniformly to all consumers irrespective of their income level.

Is VAT an Indirect Tax?

Yes, a Value Added Tax (VAT) is a type of Indirect Tax. It is added to the price of a product or service at each stage of production, distribution, or sale to the end consumer.

What are the advantages of Indirect Taxes?

Indirect Taxes discourage the consumption of harmful goods, provide a steady source of revenue to the government, and are easier to collect since they are included in the price of goods and services.

Are Indirect Taxes avoidable?

Indirect Taxes may be avoidable to an extent, depending on the behavior of the consumer. For instance, if a consumer chooses not to purchase goods or services that carry a high indirect tax, they can avoid those expenses. However, some indirect taxes like fuel tax or customs duty are unavoidable as long as you consume the relevant goods or services.

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