Get funds (tax) and use them to promote good life within limits
Reading papers, watching the news covering the topic it seems as if tax was a mischief invented by governments to mess with its people.
The tone quickly changes during difficult times or when the lack of resources hits people in the stomach and the loud voices rises and demands action. Sometimes the so derogated politicians must surely want to do the famous Swedish word “tillbakakaka” (backtoyoucookie) and say “stupid citizens!”
Therefore a reminder of the purpose of tax is in order. The purpose of taxes to get resources to support people to flourish. It is about investing in social well-being, in things that could not be afforded by a single person like public transport, schools, hospitals, a legal system.
Tax could be seen as a policy tool used to show what we as society value. We tax to promote activities we like or to stop activities don’t like. We value equality and therefore we try to level the playing field in the economic monopoly game where the systemic trap of "Success to the successful" rewards the already rich, by taxing. We value the environment, therefore tax environmental destruction.
One oddball here is work. Our societies really really like work but we still tax like we want to stop it. In the future what we tax will certainly change but the focus of tax should be on trying to tax to stop things we don’t like, inequality and environmental degradation, and promote things that helps us flourish as human beings within the limits of the planet.