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  • Writer's pictureJoe Woodhouse

A Brief of History of Tax

Tax: You either hate it… or you hate it.  

If you’re Al Capone, AKA Scarface - you hated it, even though he killed around 300 people, the US government had no evidence of that but managed to get him on tax fraud instead.  

But where did tax start?  

 The very first record of taxes began with the Egyptians – they would determine how much of your crop was due to the pharaoh.

Or there’s the ancient Chinese who would demand pressed tea, or there's the Brazilian tribesman who were asking for shrunken heads… I don’t know why. 

 Things soon changed once money was invented – and governments started asking for their cut, the Chinese used theirs to build the great wall of china.  

In 1763 the British turned to taxation due to their debt incurred from their wars in India and France – they set their taxes on the 13 colonies of America on items like Tea and Stamps.  

This didn’t go down too well with the Americans, and it played a large part to the creation of The American Revolution, and that of course gave us the fantastic musical “Hamilton”  

… oh.. and the United States of America. 

Income Tax as we all know and love it, was introduced first in the United Kingdom in 1799, the United States didn’t introduce it until 1861. The last country to adopt it was Venezuela in 1942 and if you’re lucky enough to be over 100 years old in Mexico – income tax doesn’t apply to you. 

Of course, the tax doesn’t stop there. Because of the unpopularity that income taxes faced, we were lucky enough that governments sought out new ways to tax us, and so we were introduced to new taxes such as VAT or Property Tax.  

As we all know Taxes are HUGE for governments, and certainly aren’t going anywhere – for the UK it makes up a THIRD of our GDP, with France coming in first with it making up almost 50% of theirs.  

So as much as we don’t enjoy them, we can all expect to keep paying them..  

Thanks for reading.


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