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TAX! Ten Weird Taxes You Probably Aren't Paying

Updated on October 20, 2011

A lot of people around the world aren't happy about the taxes they are paying.

This article looks on the bright side! You aren't paying a slavery or hearth tax, or 8 other weird ones.

Taxation does not just collect money from people for activities, income or possessions they have, it also inevitably changes their behaviour.

If there is a beard tax, people shave. If there is a window tax, some people will block up their windows or build houses with smaller ones.

In some cases, this has led to a deliberate attempt to use taxation to modify behaviour, as in the case of high petrol taxes or a congestion charge whereby motorists are charged for driving into certain areas, mainly city centres.

Some taxes are just plain weird. Here's ten of the best, taxes you aren't paying (I hope!)

Henry VIII, with the only untaxed beard in England at the time.
Henry VIII, with the only untaxed beard in England at the time.

Beard Tax

More than one ruler in history has decided to tax beards.

The first I can discover is Henry VIII, King of England, who in 1535 taxed beards. Henry VIII continued to wear his beard even though taxing everybody else for wearing them.

The tax was reintroduced by his daughter, Elizabeth I, who also decided that beards should be taxed. It’s not entirely clear whether Elizabeth I disliked beards, or merely saw it as a handy way of raising extra revenue. The tax imposed by Elizabeth I for beards varied according to the age and status of the man required to wear it.

Tsar Peter I of Russia issued a decree in 1705 which prohibited the wearing of beards unless a tax was paid.

Everybody except a member of the Orthodox clergy (who are obliged to wear beards) was ordered to pay a special tax in order to keep his beard.  Those few men who continued to wear beards despite the tax were ordered to carry a sign with them which stated that beards were ridiculous.

Letter to the Treasury, asking for Church of Scotland ministers to be excused from paying the window tax. The request was refused.
Letter to the Treasury, asking for Church of Scotland ministers to be excused from paying the window tax. The request was refused.
Georgian building in Bedford Row, Holborn, London, showing blocked-up windows
Georgian building in Bedford Row, Holborn, London, showing blocked-up windows

Window Tax

The Window Tax was a little favourite introduced by King William III in the “Act of Making Good the Deficiency of the Clipped Money 1696”.

It was introduced because there was massive controversy around the idea of income tax, many people feeling it was entirely none of the government’s business what their income was.

Every house had to pay two shillings a year, and you paid more tax if you had more windows.

Extra rates kicked in above 10 and 20 windows, although these numbers were lowered in 1766 to 7 and raised again to 8 in 1825. The tax wasn’t wholly abolished until 1851.

A lot of people resented the tax, considering it to be a tax on sunshine and air.

The tax affected buildings. It’s still common in England to see Georgian buildings with windows bricked up.

Buildings either had existing windows bricked up in order to minimise the tax, or windows were built in new houses bricked up, ready for glass to be installed if the tax regime changed later on.

A runestone in Vasby, Sweden, which records the Viking owner's successful collection of a share of the Danegeld.
A runestone in Vasby, Sweden, which records the Viking owner's successful collection of a share of the Danegeld.


The Danegeld was a tax raised in Anglo Saxon England in order to pay off the Vikings.

The idea was that by paying the Vikings they would take the money and go away instead of invading, plundering, raping and murdering.

The first English payment, 3,300 kilograms of silver was made in 991 after the Vikings beat the Saxons at the Battle of Maldon in Essex. King Aethelred the Unready paid the Vikings off rather than submit to further looting.

The problem with the Danegeld was that the Vikings were encouraged to come back and get some more. Danegeld was further paid in 1002 A.D., 1007. A.D. (that one was 13,400 kilograms of silver) 1012 A.D. and 1016 A.D.

As a result of all this Danegeld, more Anglo Saxon silver pennies can be found in Sweden than in England these days. Danegeld represented about 10% of the Exchequer’s income.

Kings continued to charge the Danegeld after it stopped being paid to the Vikings. It became a rather useful tax for Kings. For example, William the Conqueror was rather fond the Danegeld in order to pay for his wars in Normandy, and King Stephen and Henry II were really rather fond of it. The last Danegeld was raised in 1161.

The Danegeld was based on assessments of how much particular agricultural land should be producing, rather than what it actually was producing, and people in favour with the King tended to be exempted for it.

Rudyard Kipling’s poem  The Danegeld states, “That if once you have paid the Danegeld you never get rid of Dane”

Danegeld is now used as an insult in UK politics, as a form of appeasement. It’s often compared to Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler in the late 1930s, not a favourable comparison.

An extract from Kipling's poem:

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,

And the people who ask it explain

That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld

And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,

To puff and look important and to say: --

"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.

We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;

But we've proved it again and again,

That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld

You never get rid of the Dane.

Extract from genealogy programme showing use of hearth tax records to trace ancestry

Hearth Tax

The Hearth Tax was introduced in 1662 after the restoration of the monarchy, when King Charles II replaced the Cromwellian commonwealth.

The reason the Hearth Tax was imposed is that it was considered easier to count hearths than people. People have a nasty habit of moving or hiding if you try and count them in order to tax them.

The payment was one shilling every Michaelmas (29th September) and Lady Day (25th March) per hearth or stove. The tax was therefore two shillings per hearth per year.

People were exempted if they were very poor, if they were industrial hearths such as the kilns, or if there were hospitals or alms houses.

Oddly enough, the Hearth Tax was not what you would call popular. In order to avoid paying it, some people stopped up their chimneys so that the hearth wouldn’t be usable and they wouldn’t have to pay the tax.

One of the things which people particularly resented about the Hearth Tax is that the officers in charge of collecting it had the right to enter any house and inspect all the rooms in order to count hearths.

If the tax wasn’t paid, the same officials could destrain goods, which meant helping themselves to the non payer’s stuff and going off with it.

It was also quite a dangerous tax. For example, a fire destroyed 25 houses, 15 other buildings, and killed 5 people in Oxfordshire. A baker who resented the chimney tax had stopped up her own chimney, and knocked through from her wall to her neighbour’s chimney in order to avoid paying it. As a piece of engineering it was rather botched.

It’s often easy to tell from archaeological evidence where a hearth was stopped up.

An example is a Cornish house which appears in the records as owned by John Ellis. He had six hearths in his household and had stopped up two. Looking at the house now, it’s possible to tell where one was stopped up in a bedroom.

It was only unblocked recently, and the stopping had caused a damp patch around the hearth and in the chimney.


Scutage, also known as Escuage, was a tax applied to people who didn’t want to fight and die for the English King.

It started under Henry I, and people who didn’t fancy going off to do knight service in the King’s army could pay not to do it instead. The Crown had the right not to accept the payment instead of service, but Kings found it a rather useful way of raising money, with which they could then hire mercenaries.

Richard I came up with the cunning idea of refusing permission to pay instead of serve unless even greater sums were paid.

It fell out of use as the feudal system declined, and Edward III was the last person to charge Scutage successfully.

Freedom Tax for former slaves

In Ancient Rome, slavery was a well developed institution. Slave owners could free their slaves, or slaves could under certain circumstances work for other people in their spare time and eventually buy their freedom.

If you were a Roman slave who had managed to save up enough to free himself, you not only had to come up with the price your slave master required of you, you had to come up with an extra 10% tax to the government for the privilege of not being a slave anymore.

Richard II meets the rebels, in a contemporary illustration of the Peasants' Revolt
Richard II meets the rebels, in a contemporary illustration of the Peasants' Revolt
Original 1379 records from the Pipe Rolls of Poll Tax receipts.
Original 1379 records from the Pipe Rolls of Poll Tax receipts.

Poll tax

The Poll Tax was first brought into Britain in the 14th Century by the child King Richard II.

It was raised three times, in 1377, 1379 and 1381. It was slightly different in each year it was raised.

In 1381 it was levied across the population on an equal basis. Every person in England aged 15 or over had to pay one shilling. This was seen as extraordinarily inequitable by the peasants in particular.

If you were well off, a shilling was nothing. However if you were poor a shilling was extremely difficult to pay.

There had been resentment among peasants for some time about how the country was ruled. The Black Death which killed between a third and a half of the population between 1349 and 1351 had led to a growing demand for labour.

The government tried to control this by passing the Statute of Labourers Act 1351 which meant that it was very difficult to change employer, and wages were held at old levels.

The setting of the tax in 1381 at 3 groats (a groat was 4 pence, therefore the tax was 12 pence or a shilling) caused all the built-in frustrations to well up in one go.

The revolt was led by John Bull, Wat Tyler and Jack Straw, three famous names in England even today. For example, you will find a Wat Tyler Road in Blackheath and a Jack Straw pub in Hampstead.

A common cry of the peasants’ revolt, first introduced by the priest John Bull, was:

When Adam delved and Eve span who was then the gentleman?

The revolt was eventually put down, but only after significant damage and death. John of Gaunt, who was the Regent for the child King, had his London palace, the Savoy, burnt down.

A number of other buildings in London were burnt, the Tower of London was successfully stormed, and the Lord Chancellor who was also the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Lord Treasurer were both executed by the mob.

Margaret Thatcher failed to learn from the example of the 14th Century, and tried to introduce the Poll Tax in the late 1980s.

This led to the Poll Tax Riots in 1990, and was a major in factor in Thatcher’s downfall later in the same year.

Peter the Great had a similar go at a Poll Tax, instead he called it a Soul Tax. This was in 1718, and if you didn’t believe that you had a soul because you were an atheist, you didn’t have to pay it. Instead you had to pay religious dissenter tax which amounted to exactly the same sum.

A King's Counsel in court dress, wig included
A King's Counsel in court dress, wig included

British State Opening of Parliament, complete with wigs

Hat, wig and wig powder tax

It was common in the late 18th Century as well as earlier to wear wigs in order to look fashionable. If you had any pretensions for fashion as a man, you had a nice wig.

The wigs that barristers wear in England now are simplified forms of the height of fashion in the 17th and 18th Century.

If it’s fashionable, however, someone thinks about taxing it.

There was a tax introduced in parliament in 1795 which taxed both wigs and wig powder, which was the stuff you put on the wig everyday a bit like talc in order to look an extra man about the town.

A common Wig Tax in about 1815 was a guinea (one pound and one shilling or 21 shillings) which is the equivalent today of about £40.

A similar tax introduced at the same time was a Hat Tax. It was supposed to be a progressive form of taxation, based on the idea that if you were rich you would have lots of very pricey hats, and if you were poor you wouldn’t bother.

Every man’s hat sold had to have a stamp sowed into its lining to show that it was a legal hat. In any hat shop or hat maker also had to have a licence in order to sell legal hats. In London this was a significant sum, £2. Outside London, a hat trader had to pay 5 shillings.

The penalty for not having a hat licence for a retailer or manufacturer or a hat stamp for a wearer was heavy. The death penalty was introduced for those who forged hat tax revenue stickers.

Those people who had the hat seller’s licence had an official sign outside their shop which proclaimed them as legal, saying ‘dealer in hats by retail’.

There was a lot of disagreement about what things you might put on your head were hats and which were other forms of headgear. This caused such trouble that the government was forced to introduce a new Act in 1804 to describe and define hats so that everybody knew what was a taxable hat and what was just a headscarf or cap.

The tax was never a great success and was repealed in 1811.

Urine tax

The Emperor Nero in the 1st Century A.D. introduced a Urine Tax.

Nero was insane. Whether as a result of this or not, he decided to tax urine.

Wealthy Romans had their own sewage disposal systems, but everybody else used chamber pots and emptied them into cess pits.

The liquid was then collected from these latrines and used as the raw material for a number of industrial and service industries.

Urine was used in tanning leather, a smelly and rather revolting process, and was also used to clean and whiten white clothes especially togas.

As a result of it being re-enacted by Nero’s successor, Vespasian, the word for a public toilet in France, Italy and Romania is still derived from the Emperor’s name.

Something of a special historical legacy.

Illegal drugs tax

Several American states now have laws whereby you are supposed to pay taxes on illegal drugs that you have in your possession.

For example, in the State of North Carolina, there has been a tax law in relation to illegal drugs since 1990. If you want to pay this tax, you can go to a local revenue office and pay a certain amount to show that your illegal drugs are legally taxed.

79 people have, apparently, decided to pay this tax in the last 19 years.

The main source of revenue, however, is from those who don’t pay it and are fined for a failure to pay after arrested in possession of illegal drugs.

I’ve included this because although it’s still a tax and valid on the tax books, anybody who’s happy to possess large quantities of illegal drugs is unlikely to be particularly bothered by tax evasion, and if you’re arrested with a large haul of heroin or cannabis in your possession, you’ve probably got more to worry about than a tax bill.

In Tennessee, for example, from 2005 once you’d bought illegal drugs you had 48 hours to pay the tax on it. It’s a tax charged per gram, from $3.50 for cannabis up to $200 for crack. In July 2006 a judge ruled that this particular tax was unconstitutional and it was got rid of.


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    • profile image

      Woodrow E. McNair 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      As part of Obamacare, the U.S. has a 10% tanning tax.

    • profile image

      uncle Leon 

      7 years ago

      The taxpert -

      I'm afraid the information about certain taxes/fines in Poland being mitigated by praying with a local priest is not true. Whoever told you that, was just pulling your leg...

      I have never heard of a prayer affecting your tax - and I would have heard of it, because I was born in Poland, and got my masters in Economy there.

      Poland has a modern tax system (and rather complicated, too).

    • John Redfern profile image

      John Redfern 

      8 years ago from Rochdale England

      I wonder if the urine tax was 2p.

    • profile image

      Mark Randall 

      9 years ago

      I wonder if in 20 years from now the Tanning Tax which just became effective here in the US will be on this list?

    • LaVieja profile image


      9 years ago from London

      LOL! Great hub. Really enjoyed reading it.

    • profile image

      The taxpert 

      10 years ago

      Great collection there LG.

      I can add a few to your collection that are current or have recently existed (or are being seriously considered):

      The "Pepsi" Tax - a tax on sweetened drinks in Chicago properly known as the Soda Fountain Levy

      The "Snack" Tax - a levy to help with littering costs

      The "Flush" Tax - The state of Maryland charges this to help pay for its flood defenses

      The Illegal Drugs Tax - already mentioned but also applies to moonshiners and is run by (at last count) 23 different states. Most of the stamps to pay the tax are bought by stamp collectors though

      The Tatoo Tax - introduced by Arkansas (possibly has parts of the UK worried as well)

      The "Extreme Commuter" Tax - for long distance professional sportsmen and women - allegedly introduced after Michel Jordan beat the Los Angeles Lakers

      The Chopstick Tax - introduced in China which produces some 45bn pairs of chopsticks from 25 million mature trees each year

      The "cash" Tax - introduced briefly in India as a bank charge every time you withdrew sums over 25,000Rupee (about £300). All it achieved were some of the longest bank queues in history as everyone just withdrew smaller amounts so the charge was scrapped rather quickly

      The "Flatulence" Tax - introduced in New Zealand as an experimental greenhouse levy on the exhaust emissions from cattle

      The "Funeral" Tax - introduced in Japan on the funerals of cats and dogs (but not humans) which is contrary to some Buddhist teaching

      The actual implementation of the taxes can seem strange as well:

      In Poland, some fines and penalties are mitigated if you pray with a local priest;

      Some Fines in Finland are linked to your level of income which led recently to a speeding fine of E170,000 (Approx £120,000 at the time)

      One US lady successfully claimed in court that she was alergic to paying tax. The judge agreed - but made her pay anyway

      Claiming a deduction for dependents is a common claim in the US but the figures didn't really add up so the IRS started asking for the social security number of each child claimed for and the figures suddenly showed about 7 million fewer children in the US the following year....

      Still in the US, cheating on your taxes is apparently so commonplace that the question "Do you cheat on your taxes" is routinely used to calibrate lie detectors!

      In Russia, former Spetnaz troops are employed as tax inspectors and reputedly go on audit wearing ski masks and carrying automatic weapons

      And in the UK, the Revenue have given up trying to legislate against everything and have now introduced the rule that it is illegal not to tell the Revenue anything you don't want them to know but it is legal not to tell them something you don't mind them knowing (Avoidance Schemes Regulation Act 2006). Translation please...!!

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      You don't seem to have a beard in your pic, has the wife won already?

    • discostu profile image


      10 years ago from Australia

      My wife would like to see the return of the beard tax.

      Any excuse to make me get rid of mine, I think! :-)

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      Thanks all, for reading and commenting!

    • profile image

      Opinion Duck 

      10 years ago

      Yet, as bad as those taxes were, they don't compare to the tax on income and the constant changes to that tax code each year.

      US IRC

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile image


      10 years ago from North Carolina

      London Girl, being a resident of North Carolina, my favorite of these taxes is undoubtedly the illegal drugs tax.  Bless those 79 honest (wayward, but honest) souls!

      Loved your Hub. Your research was fabulous.

    • Jonsky profile image


      10 years ago

      Thinking about taxes make me sick but I love this hub. Very impressive.

    • Lgali profile image


      10 years ago


      Nice hub! I've heard of some of these taxes, but not all of them another excellent hub..

    • djrana0 profile image


      10 years ago from Dhaka,Mirpur-10,Bangladesh

      Good Hub

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      I think I still owe Maggie Thatcher some poll tax - what is the limitations on that one? I was living in London in a share house just before that tax came in - there was 6 of us living their and mine was one of the names that got a poll tax demand (I never saw it being in India by then and this was before email and cheap ph calls) - never knew how they found me - my name wasn't on the lease (the person who's name was on the lease and had been for years never got a poll tax demand!) - I was right with the peasents on this one - just cause 6 of us chose to save $ on rent why the heck should Maggie get more money from us - well she never got mine -maybe I'm a tax exile?

    • expectus profile image


      10 years ago from Land Downunder

      Very good read, enjoyed this hub very much:)

    • 2patricias profile image


      10 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      What a great Hub - you've really done a lot of research. Never really knew what Danegeld meant before reading this! Thanks.

    • packerpack profile image

      Om Prakash Singh 

      10 years ago from India, Calcutta

      Hey LG, I enjoyed it. I didn't know that people had to pay such tax in those days! We are living in a much better world now. What was the purpose to tax beards? So that everyone in the kingdom have a clean and fresh look? :)

    • lacey marie profile image

      lacey marie 

      10 years ago from United States

      very nice and entertaining hub :)

    • ReuVera profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      London Girl, you are right about Peter the great, 100%. and St.Petersburg was reffered to as "Window to Europe".

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      Mulberry, we have here a Byzantine system called "Child Tax Credits". Essentially, you are supposed to get a few quid off your tax if you have children and earn less than £x (about £55,000, I think). The form is immense, designed by an idiot, to be filled in by a genius.

      Sweetiepie, I thought drawing at school was supposed to encourage creativity? The "right" number of windows, what an odd idea.

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      Peter, I agree. No-one could make this stuff up, I'm sure!

      Mrv, I think Kipling had a point, as well!

      Julie-Ann, sorry to cause you anxiety! Our tax year's just ended here in the UK (5th April) so I ought to be getting details together. Ought to be....

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      Wendy, glad you enjoyed it!

      Chook, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for taxes to stop. You might turn blue (-:

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great hub. And another odd tax you can add. In Portugal, before the Portuguese revolution in 1974 there was a lighter tax. If you were a smoker and had a lighter you had to carry the paied tax document proof because police could ask for it. You can see it here (in Portuguese):

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      Hi oddnut - poo tax? You're shittin' me...

      Hi Reu - thanks for the additions! As I understand it, Peter was determined to drag Russia into Europe, and hence the taxes on Russian-style traditional dress, beards, etc, and also why he built St. Petersburg, as it was closer to Europe than Moscow.

      As for American income tax, I've no idea, but I don't suggest not paying it as a way to find out....

    • SweetiePie profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Once in fourth grade a teacher got mad because I drew a house with what he thought were too many windows. When he told my mom she revealed that are house had a large number of windows, and after that he feel silent. I am sure he would have loved the window tax.

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 

      10 years ago

      You must hand it to rulers and politicians. They are a very creative lot. I assume others have intiatives like our own in the US, which is to periodically talk about simplifying taxes. By this I assume they will simply decide to take our paychecks directly, and then turn over 10% to us at the end of each year saving us the necessity of figuring it all out.

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

      Julie-Ann Amos 

      10 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      Great hub thanks! Although just the word tax makes me feel uncomfortable...

    • Mrvoodoo profile image


      10 years ago from ?

      lol, a great read, they'd better not bring back beard tax though.

      Rudyard Kipling’s poem  The Danegeld states, “That if once you have paid the Danegeld you never get rid of Dane”

      ^ Reminded me of the 'never negotiate with terrorists' policies of today.

      Illegal drug tax: If you tax your drugs does that then make them legal? or just legally taxed?

    • chookylynn profile image

      Lynn Fowler 

      10 years ago from Australia

      Great giggle. Such a pity that governments down the century have operated in the belief that they have a RIGHT to have their hands constantly in people's pockets ... and any excuse is good enough.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Wow, great hub! I also appreciate that you have a spell checker for your comments.

      In the words of the great governor of California, "I'll be back!"

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 

      10 years ago from South East Asia

      Brilliant hub. Some I was familiar with but was anxious to lean more. Others new to me. You know they are true because you just could not invent some of these ;-) Thanks.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I've been all over the site, and no threats have been found - and I have an antivirus program that has been working well.

    • ReuVera profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      I couldn't open the page, as my Internet Security program found a number of threats there and is scanning my computer right now :(

    • ReuVera profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      Thank you, FreedomFightr, I'll check it out.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Go to the site to find out for yourself about the income tax. Or download the pdf file (or both, of course). This link is not my site, btw.

    • ReuVera profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      Oh, and by the way, I’ve heard that income taxes in America are not constitutional.  Is this right? I am always paying my taxes, as I am a coward.

    • ReuVera profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      I think I’ve read in my school History text-book that peasants in Russia also didn’t have to pay beard tax. Also, in some cases Peter personally cut off the beards of his noblemen. I even remember this episode in a movie, Peter the Great cutting a nobleman’s beard with an axe. Peter was an extraordinary man in everything. His Russia jumped ahead as crazy. Peter financed his impressive reforms by taxing his people ruthlessly. He implemented taxes on everything imaginable: candles, nuts, boots, hats, horses, beehives, beards, chimneys, and drinking water. What’s more, to fund his reforms, Peter appointed a committee whose sole job was to think of new taxes.

      I hope you don’t mind my adding some facts here. I just thought it might be interesting.

       Great hub, as usually, London Girl!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      lol! urine tax, what's next poo tax? nice hub,

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      shamelabboush , I've never heard of the roof tax, but if you have window and fireplace taxes, why not pay for the roof too?

      I'm not sure of the precise details, Kari, but personally I'd have shaved it off. If I had been a live, and a man, and Russian, of course!

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      robie, do you think paying a urine tax would piss you off? The Danegeld is a fascinating one, and I do love Kipling's poem about it.

      Mystic - no-one ever accused tax collectors of being unimaginative, did they....

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      pjdscott - I didn't know Italy still did the window tax, it went out of fashion here in the UK in the 1850s! Mind you, does anyone pay taxes in Italy anyway.....?

      Jama, I reckon there have always been people who would rather pay £2 for something to avoid paying £1 in tax. What do you think? Mind you, glass was expensive at the time, so maybe it wasn't more expensive to brick them in.

    • bgpappa profile image


      10 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Another interesting article. Taxes do change behavior, but here in America, only if you make enough to itemize. If you take the standard deduction then it doesn't really matter.

    • profile image

      Sheri Fresonke Harper 

      10 years ago

      Wow,l recycling back in Roman times and I thought all they did was war monger and party, thank heavens I don't pay these, too, but now that you put it out there, I'm sure the IRS will consider them, lol

      :) Sheri

    • profile image

      Tony Leaf 

      10 years ago

      I'm surprised that over the years no government has ever found a way of taxing sex. Seems like it would be a fine source of revenue.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      10 years ago from Ohio

      Do you think they had to wear a placard front and back? "I look ridiculous"? HaHaHa LOLOL Oh, the things we will go through for our vanity!

    • shamelabboush profile image


      10 years ago

      Very weird but interesting. Ionce heard that there is a tax for having a roof!!!! Great Hub Londongirl.

    • mysticdave profile image


      10 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

      Interesting article, just like the government, inventing new ways to take our money:)

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 

      10 years ago from Central New Jersey

      The urine tax???? well it just goes to show you, doesn't it. and the Danegeld--ahhhh yes that-- this was fascinating LG-- I can only hope that the next figth isn't over an internet use tax. Well done!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      10 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      What a marvelous and well-researched hub, LG!  Interesting that homes were built with the windows bricked in for the day when the window tax was repealed! Wonder how much the extra bricks cost as opposed to paying the window tax???

      Rochelle's right about the drug "tax".  Only an idiot would walk into city hall to buy a drug stamp (ng, license to sell), but lack of one is used as an extra "gotcha!" if they're ever arrested.

    • pjdscott profile image


      10 years ago from Durham, UK

      Window tax is still evident in some parts of Italy, would you believe? Similarly, many Italians never get around to 'finishing' their extensions since they will then incur additional taxes!

      You have written a most interesting hub, thanks!

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      Hi Christoph -= taxes really do change behaviour, I think. That's why our Congestion Charge was brought in for London (£8 a day).

      Kari, glad you enjoyed it! The sign had to be displayed clearly, as well.

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      Hi Elena, glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for your kind comments!

      Evory, when it comes to tax, they are all ideas, sorry....

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      10 years ago from Ohio

      I feel much better about my taxes now! This statement had me rolling! "Those few men who continued to wear beards despite the tax were ordered to carry a sign with them which stated that beards were ridiculous." I can see gentlemen walking down the road with signs saying "My beard is ridiculous". This just tickles me to no end! Thanks for sharing this. :D

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      10 years ago from St. Louis

      In my town, property taxes are heavily influenced by the concrete footprint on them. Therefore, many homes have gravel driveways. Otherwise, their tax would be higher.

    • eovery profile image


      10 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      Nice Hub,

      Don't give our legislators any ideas.

      Keep on Hubbing!

    • Elena. profile image


      10 years ago from Madrid

      LG, this is the most original hub ever ... okay, maybe this AND the kitsch stuff hub!  Laugh!

      I wonder if in some hundred years someone as talented as you will be writing a hubby hub about the income tax, and readers from all over this world (and other galaxies, I would think, by then!) will awww and oohhhh about it! :-)

      I really digged this, thank you!

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      Rochelle, I'm sure you're right. It does seem odd, though, the idea that you buy your crack then pop along to tax it....

      Christa, glad you found it fun!

    • Christa Dovel profile image

      Christa Dovel 

      10 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

      That is a fun, but unfortunate list. It is a shame the things a government will come up with, in order to tax it's people.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      10 years ago from California Gold Country

      Interesting article which makes us glad those particular taxes are not now in effect.

      I think the tax on illegal drugs may have had its basis in the idea that if authorities could not prove they were selling, the perps could at least be nailed for tax evasion.

      On the room tax-- the state of Oregon has no state income tax, but property taxes are higher. Not sure if this is still true, but taxes could be levied on each structure on your property. My brother-in -law, built  picket fences connecting the well house, greenhouse, workshop and woodshed to the main house, making it  legally all one structure, so he wouldn't be taxed for five buildings.

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      Hi Teresa - the Queen's always looked pretty good for her age, and still does, I reckon. But I envy that waist too. I think mine was larger by the time I was 10 (-:

      I think Thatcher had got beyond the stage when someone could say to her, "hang on a second....."

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      Hi Moon - if I were less of a lady, I might not have called it the urine tax. It was taking the piss, though....

      Brian, glad you enjoyed it! The beard tax is my personal fave.

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      10 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      Brilliant hub, I had heard of a few of these but not the funniest ones like the beard tax, the hat, wig tax etc. and the urine tax, amazing loved reading this.

    • Teresa McGurk profile image


      10 years ago from The Other Bangor

      It always amazed me that Thatcher actually thought a Poll Tax legitimate means of raising revenue.  I listened with glee to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty giving her gracious speech at the Opening of Parliament (dinnt she 'ave a tiny waist!?) Gorr blimey! 

      (On a sadder, quieter note: I'm glad there's no beard tax.  Since menopause, I've been sprouting WAY too many chin hairs for comfort. . . .)

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 

      10 years ago from London

      Nice hub! I've heard of some of these taxes, but not all of them (such as urine tax!) Interesting that poll tax was never a popular one...

    • LondonGirl profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from London

      Hi William - don't bet against it. If it's not nailed down, someone will tax it. If it's nailed down, someone'll tax it anyway.

      Patty - I reckon if you're nicked for drug-dealing, tax is the least of your problems (-:

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      In Ohio since the 1980s, many drug possessors and dealers have been actually billed for taxes on the drugs they have at the time of arrest.

      My friend's cousins in Romania pay a room tax for # of rooms in the house, determined by the number of doors. They removed the doors from al their closets and bathroom.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Fascinating, London Girl. And unique. It seems government will always find a way to tax anything, anywhere, at any time. If HubPages get too popular, they may even start taxing hubs!


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