History of taxation in the United Kingdom

History of taxation in the United Kingdom includes the history of all collections by governments under law, in money or in kind, including collections by monarchs and lesser feudal lords, levied on persons or property subject to the government, with the primary purpose of raising revenue.


Prior to the formation of the United Kingdom in 1707, taxation had been levied in the countries that joined to become the UK. For example, in England, King John introduced an export tax on wool in 1203 and King Edward I introduced taxes on wine in 1275. Also in England, a Poor Law tax was established in 1572 to help the deserving poor, and then changed from a local tax to a national tax in 1601.[1] In June 1628, England's Parliament passed the Petition of Right which among other measures, prohibited the use of taxes without its agreement. This prevented the Crown from creating arbitrary taxes and imposing them upon subjects without consultation.

One of the key taxes introduced by Charles II was to help pay for the rebuilding of the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666. Coal tax acts were passed in 1667 and in 1670. The tax was eventually repealed in 1889.[2]

In 1692, the Parliament of England introduced a national land tax. This tax was levied on rental values and applied both to rural and to urban land. No provision was made for re-assessing the 1692 valuations and consequently they remained in force well into the 18th century.[3]