Federal and state governments in the United States use income and payroll taxes as their primary tools to collect revenue. In the rest of the world, governments also use income and payroll taxes, but rely much more heavily than does the United States on taxing consumption. Consumption taxes take many forms, including general sales taxes, value-added taxes, and excise taxes on the consumption of specific items including gasoline, alcohol, tobacco products, firearms, air travel, telephone communication, and others. The U.S. government does not use a value-added tax, making the United States unique among high-income countries and a rarity in the larger world. As of 2004, at least 134 countries rely on value-added taxes as a substantial source of funding. Value-added taxes are sophisticated forms of sales taxes in which taxes are withheld by businesses according to value added at every stage of production. American states do impose sales taxes on broad categories of consumer purchases, but state governments are considerably smaller than national governments, and their sales tax rates are very low compared to the value-added tax rates used in the rest of the world.
Hines, James R., Jr. "Taxing Consumption and Other Sins." J. Econ. Persp. 21, no. 1 (2007): 49-68.