A charge or fee that a government imposes on a citizen or business is called a tax. Taxes help to pay for the services people (and businesses) receive from the government.

There are many different kinds of taxes—on purchases, property, and income, for example—but all tax money is meant to pay for things that benefit people in society. For example, in many places schools, road repairs, fire departments, and health care for elderly and disabled people are all paid for with money from taxes. As a verb, tax can either mean "impose a tax on" or "put a strain or burden on."

Primary Meanings of tax

charge against a citizen's person or property or activity for the support of government
levy a tax on
use to the limit
make a charge against or accuse
Full Definitions of tax

n charge against a citizen's person or property or activity for the support of government

revenue enhancement, taxation
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single tax
a system of taxation in which a tax is levied on a single commodity (usually land)
income tax
a personal tax levied on annual income
capital gains tax
a tax on capital gains
capital levy
a tax on capital or property
departure tax
a tax that is levied when you are departing a country by land or sea or air
franchise tax
a tax that is imposed by states on corporations; it depends both on the net worth of the corporation and on its net income attributable to activities within the state
gift tax
a tax imposed on transfers of property by gift during the lifetime of the giver
direct tax
a tax paid directly by the person or organization on whom it is levied
indirect tax
a tax levied on goods or services rather than on persons or organizations
a tax levied on the basis of a fixed amount per person
graduated tax, progressive tax
any tax in which the rate increases as the amount subject to taxation increases
proportional tax
any tax in which the rate is constant as the amount subject to taxation increases
degressive tax
any tax in which the rate decreases as the amount subject to taxation increases
a local tax on property (usually used in the plural)
stamp duty, stamp tax
a tax collected by requiring a stamp to be purchased and attached (usually on documents or publications)
a tax toward paving streets
transfer tax
any tax levied on the passing of title to property
special assessment
an additional tax levied on private property for public improvements that enhance the value of the property
bracket creep
a movement into a higher tax bracket as taxable income increases
estimated tax
income tax paid periodically on income that is not subject to withholding taxes; based on the taxpayer's predicted tax liability
a tax on employees and employers that is used to fund the Social Security system
withholding, withholding tax
income tax withheld from employees' wages and paid directly to the government by the employer
land tax, property tax
a capital tax on property imposed by municipalities; based on the estimated value of the property
death duty, death tax, estate tax, inheritance tax
a tax on the estate of the deceased person
hidden tax
a tax paid unwittingly by the consumer (such as ad valorem taxes)
poll tax
a tax of a fixed amount per person and payable as a requirement for the right to vote
poor rates
a local tax for the relief of the poor
supertax, surtax
an additional tax on certain kinds of income that has already been taxed
duty, tariff
a government tax on imports or exports
excise, excise tax
a tax that is measured by the amount of business done (not on property or income from real estate)
Type of:
a charge imposed and collected

v levy a tax on

“The State taxes alcohol heavily”
“Clothing is not taxed in our state”
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levy an excise tax on
charge a tariff
levy an extra tax on
tax excessively
Type of:
impose, levy
impose and collect

v set or determine the amount of (a payment such as a fine)

charge (a person or a property) with a payment, such as a tax or a fine
Type of:
determine, set
fix conclusively or authoritatively

v use to the limit

“you are taxing my patience”
Type of:
extend, strain
use to the utmost; exert vigorously or to full capacity

v make a charge against or accuse

“They taxed him failure to appear in court”
Type of:
make an accusatory claim

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