Why not?! Peter the Great did during his rule of the Russian empire in 1705 with the spirited hopes of “motivating” his taxpayers to adopt a more clean-shaven style that was becoming popular in Western Europe at that time.
Throughout history, in addition to their typical use as a steady revenue stream providing valuable community resources, there have been a number of intriguing tax laws enacted around the world that deserve a second-look.
These include taxes urging knights into battle, promoting social change, and even one that contributed to a revolution!
Take a look at some of the strangest tax laws ever created abroad:
- From 1106-1135 during King Henry I rule of England, he allowed knights to opt out of their duties to fight in wars by paying a tax called “scutage”. Some claim that the excessive tax rate was one of the things that contributed to the creation of the Magna Carta, which limited the king’s power.
- In 1696, England implemented a window tax, taxing houses based on the number of windows they had. That led to many houses having very few windows in order to avoid paying the tax. Eventually, this became a health problem and ultimately led to the tax’s repeal in 1851.
- In the 1700’s, England placed a tax on bricks. Builders soon realized that they could use bigger bricks (and thus fewer bricks) to pay less tax. Soon after, the government caught on and placed a larger tax on bigger bricks. Brick taxes were finally repealed in 1850.
- In 1784 England introduced a tax on hats. To avoid the tax, hat-makers stopped calling their creations “hats,” leading to a tax on any headgear by 1804. The tax was repealed in 1811.
- In 1789, the French had a very unpopular tax on salt called the “gabelle,” which angered many and was one of the contributing factors to the French Revolution.
- In 1795, England put a tax on the aromatic powders that men and women put on their wigs. This led to a dramatic decline in the popularity of wigs.
If I were queen for the day I think I would put a tax on every call I receive from a telemarketer – charging double for when I am eating dinner! What would make the top of your list?
Leave your comments in the box below. The most intriguing tax law will be featured in next month’s NL!