Thursday, 26 April 2012

A-Z Challenge: W is for Window Tax

There have been many weird and wonderful taxes throughout the years: poll tax, land tax, hearth tax, hat tax (1784-1811) on men's hats, dice duty (1711–1862), almanac tax (1711–1834), wallpaper tax (1712–1836), glove tax (1785–94), hair-powder tax 1786–1869) and perfume tax (1786–1800).

So, how about this one? Window Tax.  Every household paid a basic 2 shillings; houses with between 10 and 20 windows paid 8 shillings, and the rates for large houses were increased in 1709.  In order to reduce the amount you had to pay, you might block up several windows (which is why you often see these blocked-up windows in old ruins).

In 1747 the Act was repealed and amended: now (as well as the basic 2 shillings) houses with 10 to 14 windows paid 6 pence per window; those with 15 to 19 paid 9 pence; and those with over 20 windows paid one shilling per window. [Terrick Fitzhugh, Dictionary of Genealogy, p 302]

This tax was abolished in 1851.

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