Difference between a tax and a fee

It is well settled that the basic difference between a tax and a fee is that a tax is a compulsory exaction of money by the State or a public authority for public purposes, and is not a payment for some specific services rendered. On the other hand, a fee is generally defined to be a charge for a special service rendered by some governmental agency. In other words there has to be quid pro quo in a fee vide Kewal Krishan Puri vs. State of Punjab (AIR 1980 SC 1008):

The meaning given to the word “tax” by Latham C.J. of the High Court of Australia in Matthews v. Chicory marketing Board 60 CLR 263 has been quoted with approval at page 1040 and has been often repeated in many other decisions. Generally speaking a fee is defined to be a charge for a special service rendered to individuals by some governmental agency. A question arises – “special service” rendered to whom, which kind of individuals? Mr. V. M. Tarkunde who appeared for the Haryana marketing Board stressed the argument that service rendered must be correlated to those on whom the ultimate burden of the fee falls. In our opinion this argument is neither logical nor sound. The impost of fee and the liability to pay it is on a particular individual or a class of individuals. They are under the obligation to submit accounts, returns or the like to the authorities concerned in cases where quantification of the amount of fees depends upon the same. They have to undergo the botherations and harassments, sometimes justifiable and sometimes even unjustifiably, in the process of discharging their liability to pay the fee. The authorities levying the fee deal with them and realize the fee from them. By operation of the economic laws in certain kinds of impositions of fee the burden may be passed on to different other persons one after the other. A few lines occurring at page 119 in the judgment of the Privy Council in the case of Attorney General for British Columbia v. Esquimalt and Nanaimo Rly. Co. 1950 AC 87 may be quoted with advantage.

They are as follows:-

“It is probably true of many forms of tax which are indisputably direct that the assessee will desire, if he can, to pass the burden of the tax on to the shoulders of another. But this is only an economic tendency. The assessee’s efforts may be conscious or unconscious, successful or unsuccessful; they may be defeated in whole or in part by other economic forces. This type of tendency appears to their Lordships to be something fundamentally different from the “passing on” which is regarded as the hallmark of an indirect tax”.

The authorities, more often than not, almost invariably, will not be able to know the individual or individuals on whom partly or wholly the ultimate burden of the fee will fall. They are not concerned to investigate and find out the position of the ultimate burden. It is axiomatic that the special service rendered must be to the payer of the fee. The element of quid pro quo must be established between the payer of the fee and the authority charging it. It may not be the exact equivalent of the fee by a mathematical precision, yet, by and large, or predominantly, the authority collecting the fee must show that the service which they are rendering in lieu of fee is for some special benefit of the payer of the fee. It may be so intimately connected or interwoven with the service rendered to others that it may not be possible to do a complete dichotomy and analysis as to what amount of special service was rendered to the payer of the fee and what proportion went to others. But generally and broadly speaking it must be shown with some amount of certainty, reasonableness or preponderance of probability that quite a substantial portion of the amount of fee realised is spent for the special benefit of its payers.

9. We may now extract some very useful and leading principles from the decision of this Court in Shirur Mutt’s case (supra) pointing out the difference between tax and fee. At pages 1040-41 says Mukherjea. J., as he then was:

“The second characteristic of tax is that it is an imposition made for public purpose without reference to any special benefit to be conferred on the payer of the tax. This is expressed by saying that the levy of tax is for the purposes of general revenue,which when collected forms part of the public revenues of the State. As the object of a tax is not to confer any special benefit upon any particular individual, there is, as it is said, no element of quid pro quo between the taxpayer and the public authority………”

“a ‘fee’ is generally defined to be a charge for a special service rendered to individuals by some governmental agency.”

At page 1042 the learned Judge enunciates – “The distinction between a tax and a fee lies primarily in the fact that a tax is levied as a part of common burden, while a fee is a payment for a special benefit or privilege……… Public interest seems to be at the basis of all impositions, but in a fee it is some special benefit which the individual receives.” After pointing out that ordinarily there are two classes of cases where Government imposes ‘fees’ upon persons, the first being the type of cases of the licence fees for Motor Vehicles or the like and in the other class of cases “the Government does some positive work for the benefit of persons and the money is taken as the return for the work done or services rendered” (vide page 1043), it is said further – “If the money thus paid is set apart and appropriated specially for the performance of such work and it is not merged in the public revenues for the benefit of the general public, it could be counted as fees and not a tax. There is really no generic difference between the tax and fees and as said by Seligman, the taxing power of a State may manifest itself in three different forms known respectively as special assessments, fees and taxes.” Finally at page 1044 the striking down by theHigh Court of the imposition of fee under Section 76 of the Madras Act was upheld on the ground – “It may be noticed, however, that the contribution that has been levied under Section 76 of the Act has been made to depend upon the capacity of the payer and not upon the quantum of benefit that is supposed to be conferred on any particular religious institution.” Benefit conferred on any particular religious institution would have been undoubtedly benefit conferred on the payer of the fee.

Amin vs Surveyors: Difference between

Whether the qualifications, the duties discharged by the surveyors and Amins are same and identical so as to treat the Amins at par with that of the surveyors?

The Technical Rules and Instructions relating to survey work indicate that surveyors use more sophisticated equipment involving superior training and skills than Amins. surveyors use Theodolite for conducting traverse survey requiring knowledge of trigonometry and they are also trained in the use of equipment for the measurement of automatic levels and electronic distance measurement. The surveyors have to undergo a two-year specialized training in different kinds of surveying such as Topographic and Hydrographic surveying and Mine surveying and, are also trained in mechanics and drawing. On the other hand, the Amins are given training in simple survey work and in the use of relatively simple equipment such as Guntur’s chain, plane table, optical square. It is true that both surveyors and Amins undertake the survey work but the nature of duties discharged by both of them are different.

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Federal Court System vs State Court System USA

Court Structure

The Federal Court System The State Court System
Article III of the Constitution invests the judicial power of the United States in the federal court system. Article III, Section 1 specifically creates the U.S. Supreme Court and gives Congress the authority to create the lower federal courts. The Constitution and laws of each state establish the state courts. A court of last resort, often known as a Supreme Court, is usually the highest court. Some states also have an intermediate Court of Appeals. Below these appeals courts are the state trial courts. Some are referred to as Circuit or District Courts.
Congress has used this power to establish the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals, the 94 U.S. District Courts, the U.S. Court of Claims, and the U.S. Court of International Trade. U.S. Bankruptcy Courts handle bankruptcy cases. Magistrate Judges handle some District Court matters. States also usually have courts that handle specific legal matters, e.g., probate court (wills and estates); juvenile court; family court; etc.
Parties dissatisfied with a decision of a U.S. District Court, the U.S. Court of Claims, and/or the U.S. Court of International Trade may appeal to a U.S. Court of Appeals. Parties dissatisfied with the decision of the trial court may take their case to the intermediate Court of Appeals.
A party may ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals, but the Supreme Court usually is under no obligation to do so. The U.S. Supreme Court is the final arbiter of federal constitutional questions. Parties have the option to ask the highest state court to hear the case.
Only certain cases are eligible for review by the U.S. Supreme Court.


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Master of Philosophy Vs Doctor of Philosophy

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) entails the writing of a supervised thesis of up to 30,000 words, as well as completing a course in legal research method.

The MPhil is a three-term full-time programme with a usual residence requirement for three terms from the date of admission. The MPhil thesis must make a worthwhile contribution to knowledge and or understanding in its field.

The Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) is the Faculty’s most advanced research qualification and entails writing a thesis of between 75,000 and 100,000 words, which must make a significant and substantial contribution to its field.

Full-time study for the DPhil usually comprises three to four years and part-time six to eight years, inclusive of research methodology training in the first year for full-time students and over years one and two for part-time students. The part-time study requires attendance for a minimum of 30 days of university-based work each year, normally coinciding with the full terms of the academic year.

Arbitration agreement Vs Agreement for decision by an expert

Advocatetanmoy Law Library

In the case of K.K. Modi v. K.N. Modi, (1998) 3 SCC 573, a Bench of this Court (of which one of us was a member) had the occasion to consider the essential ingredients of an arbitration clause. Among the ingredients which are described in the said judgment, two important ingredients are; that the agreement between the parties must contemplate that substantive rights of parties will be determined by the agreed Tribunal and that the Tribunal will determine the rights of the parties in an impartial and judicial manner with the Tribunal owing an equal obligation of fairness towards both sides and also that the agreement of the parties to refer their disputes to the decision of the Tribunal must be intended to be enforceable in law. There is a difference between an expert determination and arbitration.

S.K. Chawla in the Law of arbitration and Conciliation at Page 164 states as follows:

“4. arbitration agreement to be distinguished from agreement for decision by an engineer or expert, contracts may contain a clause that on certain questions the decision of an engineer, architect or another expert shall be final. The decision given in such cases by the engineer etc., is not an award. As pointed out by Bernstein, such a person is under no obligation, unless the contract otherwise provides, to receive evidence or submissions and is entitled to arrive at his decision solely upon the results of his own expertise and investigations. The procedure involved is not arbitration, and the arbitration Act does not apply to it. The primary material on which such person acts is his own knowledge and experience, supplemented if he thinks fit by

(i) his own investigations; and/or

(ii) material (which need not conform to rules of ‘evidence’) put up before him by either party.

An arbitrator on the other hand, acts primarily on material put before him by the parties. The determination by an engineer or an expert would involve a less thorough investigation. Only one mind will be brought to bear on the problem. There will be no discovery of documents, there will not normally be any oral ‘evidence’ or oral submissions.”


Distinction between resignation and voluntary retirement

The distinction between resignation and voluntary retirement in the following terms:

“22. … [quoting RBI v Cecil Dennis Solomon (2004) 9 SCC 461] In service jurisprudence, the expressions “superannuation”, “voluntary retirement”, “compulsory retirement” and “resignation” convey different connotations. Voluntary retirement and resignation involve voluntary acts on the part of the employee to leave service. Though both involve voluntary acts, they operate differently. One of the basic distinctions is that in case of resignation it can be tendered at any time, but in the case of voluntary retirement, it can only be sought for after rendering the prescribed period of qualifying service. Another fundamental distinction is that in case of the former, normally retiral benefits are denied but in case of the latter, the same is not denied. In case of the former, permission or notice is not mandated, while in the case of the latter, permission of the employer concerned is a requisite condition. Though resignation is a bilateral concept, and becomes effective on acceptance by the competent authority, yet the general rule can be displaced by express provisions to the contrary.”

The above observations highlighted the material distinction between the concept of resignation and voluntary retirement. The Court also observed that while pension schemes do form beneficial legislation in a delegated form, a beneficial construction cannot run contrary to the express terms of the provisions:

Read more: BSES Yamuna Power Ltd. Vs Sh. Ghanshyam Chand Sharma & Anr-05/12/2019

Difference in Law

What distinguishes a Court from a quasiJudicial tribunal

What distinguishes a Court from a quasi Judicial tribunal is that it is charged with a duty to decide disputes in a Judicial manner and declare the rights of parties in a definitive judgment. To decide in a Judicial manner involves that the parties are entitled as a matter of right to be heard in support of their claim and to adduce evidence in proof of it. It also imports an obligation on the part of the authority to decide the matter on a consideration of the evidence adduced and in accordance with law. When a question therefore arises as to whether an authority created by an Act is a Court as distinguished from a quasi Judicial tribunal, what has to be decided is whether having regard to the provisions of the Act it possesses all the attributes of a Court.Continue Reading

Difference between Cultural diversity and Ethnic diversity in the Indian context

Harvard Institute for Economic Research developed the following map, showing the Ethnic Diversity in green areas with a high rate of diversity. India is not an Ethnically diverse but culturally diverse Nation.

Indian multiculturism, even though so, has a common source of origin, none other than ancient Vedic Civilisation. Bharatiya Sanskriti enjoys a unique homogenous pattern, which is essentially a sense of Cosmic Unity [Brahman] of all living and non-living beings within ‘private’, ‘public’, and universally levels.Continue Reading

Distinction Between Thesis and Dissertation

A thesis (or dissertation) is a formal statement of the theory, source materials, methodology, and findings of a student’s major research project. It must be a complete and sufficient document that does not require subsidiary information to substantiate its findings.

A thesis, commonly required to obtain a master’s degree runs ordinarily 100 pages, is designed to test a student’s understanding of his or her field of study. The student formulates a proposition, or thesis, based on previous work done by others in the field. This previous work is analyzed by the student in his or her paper as he or she makes a case for a certain point of view and evaluate it with his/her own view. This required for the partial fulfillment of master degree.

A dissertation, on the other hand, is usually done by a doctorate student and focuses on original research. A student who is assigned a dissertation is required to come up with a subject in his or her field that hasn’t already been researched by anybody. The student then must come up with a hypothesis and do original research to prove or disprove the hypothesis.