Historical Tax Avoidance

Historical Tax Avoidance

Tax Avoidance

Tax avoidance has been around as long as taxes. One historic example of tax avoidance still evident today was the payment of window tax. It was introduced in England and Wales in 1696 with the aim of imposing tax on the relative prosperity of individuals as the bigger the house, the more windows it was likely to have and the more tax the occupants would pay. Nevertheless, the tax was unpopular, because it was seen by some as a ‘tax on light’ and led property owners to block up windows to avoid it. The tax was repealed in 1851.

Other historic examples of tax avoidance were the deliberate destructions of roofs after World War II in order to avoid substantial property taxes. The owners of buildings like Fetteresso Castle (now restored) and Slains Castle in Scotland deliberately destroyed their roofs in protest at the new taxes.

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"You’d be stupid not to try to cut your tax bill and those that don’t are stupid in business"

- Bono: U2