A Brief History of Taxation

This page contains a collection of links for articles and recordings relating to the history of tax. 

The following articles were all originally published in Tax Adviser magazine and take a brief look at a range of different aspects of tax history. 

  • Permanently Temporary - comparing Gladstone's Budget of 1853 to our modern Budget approach.

  • Preserving a Nation – a look at some of the historic items preserved for the nation under the settlement in lieu scheme.

  • Taxes on Knowledge - a brief history of the taxation of newpapers.

  • The VAT album –  a look at the introduction of VAT in the UK and its impact on recorded music.

  • Bitter Sweet – the unsavoury history of the taxation of sugar.

  • A Badge of Honour - a brief history of the Women's Tax Resistance League.

We are also gradually adding more articles on tax history here. If you would be interested in contributing an article please get in touch

Women and Tax 

Our technical officer Helen Thornley has a particular interest in the history of women in tax and accountancy including the careers of some early female tax advisers. A selection of recordings and articles on her research into the Women's Tax Resistance League (WTRL) and Ethel Watts, who the first woman admitted to the ICAEW by examination following the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 which helped to open the professions up to women, can be found below.

Helen is available to speak on both the WTRL and Ethel Watts and can be contacted on the usual email address for the technical team - [email protected]

Worshipful Company of Tax Advisers

The Worshipful Company of Tax Advisers have a dedicated History of Tax Group and a regular series of events on various aspects of tax in history.