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Automated Payment Transaction Tax: an unknown quantity

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The idea for a tax levied automatically on all financial transactions first came to me in the early 90s. I was drawing my first salary after university - and dreading completing and filing complex tax return forms. At the same time, the dawning computer/internet age had made such a concept technically feasible for the first time in history.

Today, this tax concept is most commonly known as the "Automated Payment Transaction Tax" or "APTT" - a term coined in around 2005 by American economist Professor Edgar L Feige - or just the "transaction tax".

As many of my friends will recall, I championed this tax concept for some time for all the reasons Professor Fiege mentions in the above link: the APTT provides a naturally progressive and "fair" taxation regime, requires very little administration by anyone (the "automated" nature means no one would have to file a tax return ever again), captures a very large tax base and functions on a very…