Direct Taxes Ready Reckoner
Direct taxes are based on the ability-to-pay principle. This principle is an economic term that states that those who have more resources or earn higher income should pay more taxes. The ability to pay taxes is a way to redistribute the wealth of a nation. Direct taxes cannot be passed onto a different person or entity; the individual or organization upon which the tax is levied is responsible for the fulfillment of the full tax payment.
Direct taxes, especially in a tax bracket system, can become a disincentive to work hard and earn more money, because the more money a person earns, the more taxes he pays.
The modern distinction between direct taxes and indirect taxes came about with the passing of the 16th Amendment in 1913. Prior to the 16th Amendment, tax law in the United States was written so that any direct taxes were required to be directly apportioned to the population. For example, a state with 75 percent of the population in relation to another state would only be required to pay direct taxes equal to 75 percent of the larger state.
This antiquated verbiage made it so many direct taxes, such as personal income tax, could not be imposed by the federal government due to apportionment requirements. However, the passing of the 16th Amendment changed the tax code and allowed for the levying of numerous direct and indirect taxes.