Definition of Tax

Many states have additional taxpayer safeguards for legislation that raises taxes, but in an effort to evade these safeguards, politicians are playing a word game. Any assessment that raises money in excess of what is needed to defray costs is a tax, and when the primary purpose of an enactment is to offset the cost of providing a service, it is a fee.

Additional questions about the definition of tax or any other are of tax law? Contact us at (202) 464-6200.

More from the Center for Legal Reform

We develop innovative pro-growth ideas in tax law with leading experts, educate the legal community and the public about economics and taxpayer protections, and advocate that judicial and policy decisions on tax law promote simple, neutral, transparent, and stable tax policiesview

Follow Us

Tax By State

For information on your state, select it from the drop-down menu.

 

Ask a Tax Expert

Contact information for Tax Foundation policy staff Ask