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Legal history: England & common law tradition: Taxation in England

History of taxation in England & United Kingdom

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Taxation -- Great Britain -- History

Income tax -- Law and legislation -- Great Britain -- History


Some Key dates -
thanks to the UK Parliament , Open University
(see links below)

Feudal system
The feudal incidents, rights, duties, and services provided revenue (aid) for the royal government. For example, scutage mean a vassal or knight could discharge his duty to provide military service by a cash payment in lieu. Chapter 12 of Magna Carta (1215) stated that no scutage or aid (except in 3 specified instances) shall be imposed on the kingdom unless by common counsel (agreement) & that all cases the scutage or aid should be reasonable.

1377 & 1379 Poll Taxes granted by the House of Commons

1380 Third Poll Tax
(rate of 1 shilling for every man & woman) led to Peasants' Revolt

1635 - Ship Money extended beyond coastal counties

1643 - Excise duties first imposed  (beer & tobacco)

1693 - The Land Tax first imposed

1694 - Stamp Duty introduced, originally a tax on paper & vellum it survives as a tax collected by stamping  legal documents giving effect to certain transactions, particularly real property and shares & securities

1696 - Window Tax imposed (in force till 1851)

1799 - Income Tax introduced

1816 - Income Tax abolished 

1842 - Income Tax reintroduced

1861 - Establishment of the House of Commons' Public Accounts Committee

1909 - Lloyd George's 'People's Budget'
"Introduced old age pensions and required steep increases in taxation, including rises in death duties and a new 'supertax' on the wealthy. Further welfare reforms up to 1914 (national insurance, unemployment assistance) required more increases in taxation"

1918 - The Income Tax Act  (consolidation act)

1940 - Purchase Tax introduced

1941 - Income Tax standard rate at an all-time high of 10 shillings in the pound

1944 - PAYE system (Pay As You Earn) introduced

1973 - VAT (Value Added Tax) introduced

1989-90 - Poll Tax (or Community Charge)

1993 Council Tax (replaces Poll Tax) 


Related Bodleian Guides