Sin tax

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Not to be confused with syntax.

A sin tax is a kind of sumptuary tax: a tax specifically levied on certain generally socially proscribed goods and services, for example alcohol and tobacco, candies, soft drinks, fast foods, coffee, and gambling.


Sumptuary taxes are ostensibly used for reducing transactions involving something that society considers undesirable, and is thus a kind of sumptuary law. Sin tax is used for taxes on activities that are considered socially undesirable. Common targets of sumptuary taxes are alcohol and tobacco, gambling, and vehicles emitting excessive pollutants. Sumptuary tax on sugar and soft drinks has also been suggested; see soda tax.[1] Some jurisdictions have also levied taxes on illegal drugs such as marijuana.[citation needed]

The revenue generated by sin taxes is sometimes used for special projects, but might also be used in the ordinary budget. American cities and counties have used them to pay for stadiums, while in Sweden the tax for gambling is used for helping people with gambling problems. Acceptance of sumptuary taxes may be greater than income tax or sales tax.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hartocollis, Anemona (2009-04-09). "New York Health Official Calls For Tax On Drinks With Sugar". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-27. 
  2. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions on the Passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA)". FDA. 2009-08-10. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  3. ^ Allen Johnson (2010-03-21). "Should my Diet Dew addiction be punished with a tax?". News & Record, Greensboro, NC. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  4. ^ Hoffer, Adam; Shughart, William; Thomas, Michael (February 2013). "Sin Taxes: Size, Growth, and Creation of the Sindustry". Mercatus. 
  5. ^ Farrelly, Matthew; Nonnemaker, James; Watson, Kimberly (September 2012). "The Consequences of High Cigarette Excise Taxes for Low-Income Smokers". PLOS. 
  6. ^ Williams, Richard; Christ, Katelyn (July 2009). "Taxing Sin". Mercatus. 
  7. ^ "Alcopops sales down, but spirits booming". July 2008. 
  8. ^ Van Baal, Pieter H. M.; Polder, Johan J.; De Wit, G. Ardine; Hoogenveen, Rudolf T.; Feenstra, Talitha L.; Boshuizen, Hendriek C.; Engelfriet, Peter M.; Brouwer, Werner B. F. "Lifetime Medical Costs of Obesity: Prevention No Cure for Increasing Health Expenditure". PLoS Medicine (PLoS Medicine) 5 (2): e29. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050029. PMC 2225430. PMID 18254654. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  9. ^ "Detailed Response to Contradictions". Climate Action Now. Retrieved 30 April 2013. "When we rely on a sin tax for general revenues, we have a perverse incentive to maintain that revenue stream. It hurts government services when Canadians reduce their use of fossil fuels."