Five ‘crazy’ taxes

Being inventive with how to raise taxes has always been an art. Here are five more whacky taxes that have fallen by the wayside:

  • Beard tax: In 1535 Henry VIII introduced a beard tax. Didn’t he have one himself? The tax was graduated and varied depending on the wearer’s social position.
  • Wallpaper tax: In 1712 printed wallpaper was taxed, but builders got around the tax by hanging plain paper and then painting on it!
  • Clock tax: In 1797 all watches and clocks were taxed. The rate was two shillings and sixpence for a basic watch, going up to 10 shillings for a gold one.
  • Hat Tax: Pitt the Younger introduced this one in 1784. There was the death penalty awaiting anyone who forged hat-tax revenue stamps! The tax was finally repealed in 1811.
  • Soap tax: This one was introduced in 1712 and wasn’t repealed until 1835.

Thanks to New Forest Tax Accountants for the list