Tax Time is coming up fast—be ready with our Tax Guide, this week in the Shopping News! Plus, we have Trucking and Transportation!
STRANGE TAXES THROUGHOUT HISTORY AROUND THE WORLD
Throughout history there have been many bizarre taxes. Most of them were implemented to raise additional revenue, while the purpose of others was to promote social change. Here are some of the strangest ones:
• In Ancient Egypt, cooking oil was taxed, and on top of that,
people had to buy their taxed cooking oil from the Pharaoh’s monopoly,
and were prohibited from reusing oil.
• During the Middle Ages, European governments placed a tax on
soap. Great Britain didn’t repeal its soap tax until 1835.
• King Henry I allowed knights to opt out of their duties to fight in
wars by paying a tax called “scutage.” At first the tax wasn’t high,
but then King John came to power and raised it to a rate of 300%.
Some claim that the excessive tax rate was one of the things that
contributed to the creation of the Magna Carta, which limited the
• Oliver Cromwell placed a tax on Royalists, who were his political
opponents, taking one tenth of their property. He then used that
money to fund his activities that were aimed against the Royalists.
• Playing cards was taxed as early as the 16th century, but in
1710, the English government dramatically raised taxes on playing
cards & dice. This led to widespread forgeries of playing cards
to avoid taxes. The tax was not removed until 1960.
• In 1712, England imposed a tax on printed wallpaper. Builders
avoided the tax by hanging plain wallpaper and then painting patterns
on the walls. England also placed taxes on fireplaces, windows
• In 1705, Russian Emperor Peter the Great placed a tax on
beards, hoping to force men to adopt the clean-shaven look that
was common in Western Europe.
• The French had a salt tax called the gabelle, which angered many
and was one of the contributing factors to the French Revolution.
Salt was a very popular thing to tax because consuming it is necessary
to humans. The British placed a tax on salt, and the salt
tax gained worldwide attention when Ghandi staged nonviolent
protests against it.
Check back next week for more funny, strange taxes!