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The Discrete Charm of the VAT

32 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2007 Last revised: 27 Nov 2007

Graeme S. Cooper

The University of Sydney Law School


This paper examines the claims commonly made for the superiority of a value-added tax over other common forms of consumption tax - usually a wholesale or manufacturers sales tax, or a retail sales tax (of the kind seen in many States of the USA). The paper questions whether the VAT deserves its esteemed position in light of the particular difficulties it introduces for taxpayers and administrators compared to these alternatives, and the unlikely ability of the tax to match of some of the claims to superiority made for it by some of its supporters.

Keywords: value-added taxation, consumption tax

JEL Classification: K34, H24, H25

Suggested Citation

Cooper, Graeme S., The Discrete Charm of the VAT. Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 07/65. Available at SSRN:

Graeme S. Cooper (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

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