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International comparative analysis of taxation is very complex. This is particularly true of the measurement of tax burden. Every major characteristic of personal income tax varies in each country. Exemptions, allowances and deductions are all treated differently. Moreover many concessions and transfers of tax payments can radically change the amount of net income. Nevertheless it is important to draw some conclusions from data dealing with the characteristic of personal income tax.

The most important variable factor in taxable income is the treatment of personal situation. In all five countries some tax differential is allowed to a married person usually in the form of a greater allowance than that given to a single person. Moreover, each country also gives greater exemptions for taxpayers with children (although France has a different method of doing it). However, all the other countries except the UK have more tax advantages for people with families, by using the "income splitting' method of assessment (USA and Germany) or the "family unit" system as in France. Income splitting means that the total income of a couple (whether earned by husband or wife or both) is split in half, and is taxed, as if each were a separate income. Because of the progressive nature of tax rates, this results in a smaller overall tax liability than for a single person.

In France the taxable income is split into a number of parts according to the situation and size of the taxpayer's family In Sweden both husband and wife's earned incomes are treated separately for tax.

In this aspect of personal taxation the British system of 'joint liability differs most radically from the other countries. The penalizing of married people in the upper income ranges, by very heavy tax on the wife's earnings is wrong. It has a discouraging effect on the willingness of married women to work-when this results in the surtax range for the married couple. The resulting damage to the nation's economy is big.

In all the five countries the size of personal exemptions is similar (except in France where no such comparison is possible). But when tax becomes payable, it is at a higher rate (30 percent) in Britain than elsewhere. At the other end of the scale the maximum marginal rate in the UK is well above the other countries particularly when taking into account the effect of income-splitting in the US, and the greater avoidance in France and perhaps Germany too.

(from "Britain's Taxes. Some International Comparisons")

I. Match English words and word combinations from column (a) with Russian words from (b) below:

a b
1. income splitting 2. the upper income range 3. a discouraging effect 4. family unit 5. overall 6. according to 7. wife’s earnings 8. become payable 9. elsewhere 10. to be split in half 11. to differ radically 12. to be similar 13. the surtax range 14. to be well above 15. overall tax a) верхний уровень дохода b)быть похожим c) деление дохода на отдельные части d) семья как единое целое e) негативное воздействие f) общий, всеобъемлющий g)подлежать оплате h)быть разделенным на две половины i)заработки жены j)где-либо еще k)различаться коренным образом l)уровень дополнительного подоходного налога m) в соответствии с n)быть намного выше o)совокупный налог

Answer the following questions:

1. What does international comparative analisis of taxation show?

2. What is the most important variable factor in taxable income?

3. What method of assessment is used in the countries having more tax advantages for people with families?

4. What does income splitting mean?

5. What did you learn about income splitting in different countries?

6. How is the British system of joint liability different from the other counties?

7. What effect does the penalizing have?

8. What is the size of personal exemption in the five countries?

9. Where is the tax rate higher than else where?

10. What country has the maximum marginal rate as compared with the other countries?

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