According to many sources, we now have the highest tax burden we have ever had. That coupled with high inflation, increased energy costs and grocery prices increasing at a rate not seen before, all combine to result in the cost of living crisis.
However, if you thought the tax burden is high now, just spare a thought for some of the other taxes that have been in place at various times around the world.
From around 1100, English knights could pay their way out of fighting in wars. Its official name was “Scutage” but was more commonly known as the Cowardice Tax and it would let you out of military service to the king. So why fight when you could have a quiet life that might cost you a few quid.
Alternatively, how about when in 1698, the Emperor Peter I of Russia created the beard tax, as he deemed beards to be old fashioned and preferred the clean looks of European men. Those who wanted to keep their facial hair had to pay a tax and carry a token around as proof. I’m sure Adam, my barber, would love this to come in now? Just think of the extra business with men becoming clean-shaven once more. Would you pay to have a beard?
Then we had the Hat Tax, introduced here in 1784, which was designed to raise money according to a person’s wealth. At that time, it was the richer members of society who owned many hats, compared to the poor who maybe did not own a hat at all. The more hats you owned, the more tax you paid.
Finally, on this whistle stop tour of taxes around the world, Denmark has the highest flatulence tax for cows, where each cow will cost you $110! It’s designed to limit greenhouse gases as cows may account for up to 18% of Europe’s greenhouse gases.
So, you can see there are various ways of raising tax from beards to farts. I would love to hear from you
what innovative ways you would raise taxes. Drop me an email to email@example.com. Printable answers will be published in a future article.
Meanwhile, if you need any help in preparing your self-assessment form, please get in touch