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Strange Historical Taxes in England

-As early as the 16th century, the English Government taxed playing cards. In 1710, dice and playing cards received a dramatic tax increase, which led to the widespread forgery of playing cards.  The tax was not removed until 1960.

-In 1660, England placed a tax on fireplaces.  To avoid paying taxes, people would cover their fireplaces with bricks.  The tax was repealed in 1689.

-In 1696, England placed a tax on windows, taxing houses bases on the number of windows they had.  The tax lead to houses being built with very few windows, and the tax was repealed in 1851 as it was deemed to cause health problems.

-England placed a tax on printed wallpaper in 1712.  In order to avoid the tax, builders hung plain wallpaper and then painted patterns on the walls.

-In 1789, England introduced a tax on hats.  Hat-makers stopped calling their creations “hats”, so the tax was changed to include any headgear.  The tax was repealed in 1811.

-England has a tax on televisions.  If you own a TV, you must pay an annual fee which is used to finance BBC programming. Color TV’s are taxed at a higher rate than black & white.  If a blind person owns a TV, their tax rate is half.  Failure to pay is subject to criminal penalties.

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