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Weird Taxes

April 23, 2015 - by Nida U.

There are many different taxes, both “once upon a time” and “nowadays”

Window tax

Window tax


I like this one, nowadays there are so many glass houses, wonder what they would pay in taxes?!

Window tax was introduced in England and Wales in late 17th century. Houses then were taxed depending on the number of windows they had. France and Scotland also introduced similar taxes. This tax, obviously, led to some architectural, social and cultural changes during the time it was in force. Like then like now, people would do what they can to reduce the tax, so for less tax, they would have to reduce number of windows. In England there are still houses with bricked up windows.. Later the tax was referred as tax on light and air and caused some health problems, following which it was abolished.

You can see here, google street view, a street still with bricked up windows in several places

Amsterdam canal front house tax

Amsterdam canal front house tax


This is a good one too. The narrowest houses must have been somewhat interesting to design inside.. In Amsterdam in the 17th century all properties on canal sides were valuable, that was sort of a best spot for merchants, as they needed access to the canal, and storage for their goods. So the tax was introduced and calculated by the width of the canal front of the house, and apparently it was very high… Therefore many houses there were built narrow and deep.

Beard tax

Beard Tax


In our days grooving moustache is a charitable event, but back in the days you would probably consider the charitable consequences…

In early 16th century beard tax was introduced in England, by King Henry the 8th, later in late 17th century, Emperor Peter the 1st of Russia, introduced bead tax in hopes for more man to choose clean shaven face instead of bearded face.

Beard Tax payers had to wear a “beard token” which looked like this:

Beard Tax Pin

There are many more historical taxes, like soap tax, brick tax (following which a bigger brick tax was introduced as well), playing card tax, fireplace tax, salt tax..

Moving in to our times, the few that caught my eye are:

Prepared food tax (e.g., bagel is taxed ad food, while sliced bagel like prepared food), candy tax, fur tax, TV license, and the best of the recent:

Some countries proposed a flatulence tax…

Some countries proposed a flatulence tax…


Debated a lot and protested against a lot too, apparently cows and sheep burp and fart, and produce a lot of methane gas, which contributes to blocking the heat that comes from sun, 

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