helena murphy • Link
Taxation as we understand it today came into being in the 17th century.In the reign of Elizabeth I monarchs were expected to fund their household and government from the personal revenue of the crown such as the royal demesne or crown lands, tonnage and poundage (customs) and feudal dues.This was in time of peace and when war broke out the parliament granted subsidies.Monarchs found it difficult to make ends meet and in each reign lands were sold off to garner extra income. Poundage was granted to the monarch for life until 1688 when the civil list was thought of. Charles I had only been granted tonnage and poundage for one year. Ship money was a tax which the monarch could levy on maritime counties in order to defend English commercial activity on the seas, especially from the pirate states of North Africa, and also to build up the navy to defend the realm. Charles I also levied this tax on the inland counties but the taxes did go to benefit the navy.When the civil war broke out the parliament introduced taxes on all the population in order to finance the military.The most common tax was the excise which was a consumption tax which included liquor, ale ,wine and foreign luxury goods.Meat and fish were included untill 1647.In 1643 John Pym's excise ordinance taxed tobacco, cider, raisins, currants, figs, sugar,playing cards , thread and silk.An appropriate bureaucracy was set up to ensure collection and payment of taxes and collectors could resort to military assistance.Between 1644-1645 beef, mutton, veal, alum, coperas and hats were also taxed. The function of the excise was to pay for food , clothes, munitions and recruits for the military as well as giving pensions to widows of soldiers and injured soldiers.The assessment or land tax affected the counties and coercion, fines and confiscation were resorted to to force people to pay. The excise is what we know today as value added tax. it affected everyboday and was a new departure as in Tudor times the working poor were not taxed. After the restoration these taxes were continued and with them the emergence of the modern state and government as we understand it today.
sources: James Scott Wheeler. The Making of a World Power. Sutton 1999.