Excess burden of taxation

In economics, the excess burden of taxation, also known as the deadweight cost or deadweight loss of taxation, is one of the economic losses that society suffers as the result of taxes or subsidies. Economic theory posits that distortions change the amount and type of economic behavior from that which would occur in a free market without the tax. Excess burdens can be measured using the average cost of funds or the marginal cost of funds (MCF). Excess burdens were first discussed by Adam Smith.[1]

An equivalent kind of inefficiency can also be caused by subsidies (which technically can be viewed as taxes with negative rates).[citation needed]

Economic losses due to taxes have been evaluated to be as low as 2.5 cents per dollar of revenue, and as high as 30 cents per dollar of revenue (on average), and even much higher at the margins.[2][3][4]