5 Strange Things That Were Once Taxed

Including ... beards?
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2018 6:02 PM CDT
This person could have been taxed on two different things.   (Getty Images / SIphotography)

(Newser) – If you currently sport a beard, just be glad you're not living in England a few centuries ago. King Henry VIII introduced the first beard tax in 1535, in an attempt to turn the facial hair into a status symbol. Though he later did away with the tax, Queen Elizabeth I introduced her own tax on beards left to grow longer than two weeks. And Russia's Peter I introduced a facial hair tax in 1698 in an attempt to dissuade men from growing beards or mustaches. It was repealed in 1772. That's just one of the 10 weird things rounded up by Listverse that used to be taxed. A sampling of the rest:

  • Clocks and watches: The British government passed an act in 1797 that required people to pay taxes every three months for their clocks and watches. The unpopular tax was repealed less than a year later, but in that time, tavern owners benefited—many put up large clocks in their establishments to draw in people who, having hid their own watches to avoid the tax, needed to check the time.

My Take on This Story
Show results  |