History Tax in England

History of Accounting > Tax History > History Tax in England

This history of Taxation and Taxes in England is comprised in four sections.

The first section begins with the earliest records of Taxation, and follows the subject through periods which, for the sake of convenience, have been marked off as follows :—Before the Norman Conquest; from the Norman Conquest to the reign of Henry II.; the reign of Henry II.; from the reign of Henry II. to the settlement of the assessment for the fifteenth and tenth, the tax on moveables then in use; the Hundred Years’ War with France; the Wars of the Eoses; the Tudor period; and the Stuart period, ending with the Civil War.

The second section begins with the times of the vol. n. Commonwealth, when taxation in its modern form may be said to have commenced, and is divided into live books. In the first book the history is continued down to the Revolution. The second book is wide in its scope. It carries the history of taxation on the increase down to the end of the Great War with Revolutionary France and Napoleon, through periods which have been marked off by reference chiefly to the expensive wars in which we were engaged and to which we owe the existence of our enormous national debt, as follows :—From the Evolution to the War of the Spanish Succession, including the settlement of Ireland and the war with France; the War of the Spanish Succession; a peaceful period, from the peace of Utrecht to the commencement of the War of the Eight of Search, including Walpole’s administration; the War of the Eight of Search, including the War of the Austrian Succession, the fall of Walpole, and the Wilmington, Pelham and Newcastle administrations; the Seven Years’ War; the Taxation of America; the War of American Independence; the times of William Pitt—before the Great War; and lastly, Taxation during the Great War, a period which is divided into two parts, the first ending with the peace of Amiens, the other, with the final victory of Waterloo. At this date, with everything taxed that could be taxed, and the income tax at the rate of 10 per cent., or, as we should say, ’24d. in the £’, taxation in England reached the zenith.

The third section is devoted to a review of the sources of our revenue from taxes at that date, and continues the history from the repeal of the income tax in 1816. which shattered our fiscal system to pieces, down to the accession of Peel to office, in ] 842, the periods being marked off by reference to the Liverpool, Wellington, Grey, and Melbourne administrations. The fourth book has relation to the reform of taxation, and, beginning with Peel’s re-introduction of the income lax and first revision of the tariff, includes the alterations and amendments subsequently effected in our fiscal system by him and his successors in the office of chancellor of the exchequer during a period of reform which is treated as ending with the break up of the old assessed taxes, the repeal of the taxes on locomotion and the consolidation of the stamp laws, in 1870. The fifth book treats of taxation since 1870. A Synopsis of the sources of the revenue from taxes in the United Kingdom in 1881 is then given ; and the volume ends with Appendices containing information as to the cost of wars; the amount of debt accrued from the several wars; the administrations from 1702-1882; the average naval and military expenditure at various stated times, and other subjects which, it is hoped, may be of interest.

The third and fourth sections contain a history of Vol. in. the particular taxes. The third treats of the direct taxes and the stamp duties. The direct taxes are divided into taxes on persons, either by poll or in special classes, and taxes on property or analogous to a tax on property, to include a great variety of taxes, more particularly those on the occupation of houses, the establishments kept by the tax-payers, and various other taxes based upon expenditure as evidence of capability to bear the tax. The history of the stamp duties is divided into three chapters; the first, beginning with the original Stamp Act, ends in 1810, when ‘almost every species of written and printed document necessary for carrying on the business of mankind had been drawn within the grasp of the stamp laws;’ the second continues the subject down
to the reform of the stamp laws in 1870; and the third brings the history down to the present day. Vol. iv.

The fourth volume treats of taxes on articles of consumption, dividing the subject into four books, relating to (1) eatables; (2) drinks, alcoholic and nonalcoholic; (o) tobacco; and (4) articles not eatables, drinks or tobacco, to include manufactures and raw materials of manufactures: taxes which touch, directly or indirectly, almost everything that is usually eaten, drunk, worn, or used by mankind.
A Table of Contents at the beginning of each volume forms an analytical index to the volume; and an alphabetical index will be found at the end.

The work is the result of notes which, originally put together as memoranda for personal information, have been gradually combined and moulded into their present form. They are published in the hope that they may prove useful to persons interested in a technical subject; and though from the wide field they cover, and the intricacy of the subject in some of its details, they cannot be expected to be free from errors and omissions, the compiler is not conscious of having spared trouble in the endeavour to make them as accurate and comprehensive as the limited time at his disposal lias permitted.

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