Where did tax come from?
Updated: Aug 2, 2019
A long time ago in a continent not so far away.... The Egyptian Pharaohs first came up with the idea of a "Tax". There were two types, the first a way of collecting a labour tax, if you were too poor to pay "normal" tax you would provide forced labour to the state. The other form, a Tithe, would basically mean you gave 1/5th of your crop to the Pharaoh.
Over the centuries governments and empires would shape and change this basic idea of the people giving an amount to the state to pay for public services, into what we would recognise as a modern tax system.
Our current Tax System was really born only a few hundred years ago, back in 1803 with Henry Addington. He introduced the tax schedules that separated out different types of income and taxed them accordingly. These schedules were still in use up to 2005 before they were replaced with the Income Tax (trading and other income) Act 2005.
After numerous promises by government to abolish income tax, the last real opportunity to repeal the bill was around the 1874 election when even the Times reported that, whoever is Chancellor when the Budget is produced, the income tax will be abolished. At the time it was only contributing about 7% of the total revenue and so was low on the list of priorities, and once war broke out in 1914 the government needed every penny it could get. so the income tax stayed.