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Taxes are complicated and difficult, except when they are simple.
The observation comes in the wake of my annual chat with the tax lady and the end of the legislative session.
Like most topics, taxes are simple at the big picture, the most general.
In the tax world, three main areas offer themselves as targets for being taxed: property, sales and income. For income, corporations and people are taxed separately.
In New Mexico, even at the most general, tax concepts are more complicated. That’s to be expected. Everything seems more complicated here, disrupted by the magic dust of enchantment.
Our tax complication is an added broad category for taxation—the extractive industries whose royalties are the source of the permanent funds.
The decision is not what to tax, the decision is how to allocate the taxation among the general categories. Richard Anklam of the New Mexico Tax Research reminds us that over the years New Mexico has made two unusual tax allocation decisions. We rely heavily on sales taxes, using a variant called gross receipts taxes. Also, our property taxes are low, just about the nation’s lowest, and are all imposed locally.
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