Window tax

May 2019
7
Uk
The question makes no sense. The window tax was clearly onerous or nobody would have blocked off their windows. You are wasting your time trying to impose your modern sensibilities onto the people of that time.
Tax is onerous when there was no tax before. I'm trying to understand how onerous our tax is compared to that one. The national archives has developed a convertor for this purpose. I don't think trying to understand how a historical tax affected people is a waste of time. It's quite interesting.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,218
Welsh Marches
This is a good question, and I have often wondered about the matter, but can't provide any answer. That owners of terraced houses who were of limited means should have blocked up a window or two is readily understandable, but this was also done by owners of quite grand houses (like the one that I showed above), and that is harder to explain, since one would have thought that the sums involved would not have amounted to a significant percentage of their income.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,752
Dispargum
A similar tax in the American South was by the number of rooms each house had. Since closets were counted as rooms, Southern architects quickly stopped building houses with closets. People kept their clothes in wardrobe-style cabinets instead. The phenomena wasn't unique to Britain. People will change their behavior to avoid paying taxes.
 
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tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
14,086
A similar tax in the American South was by the number of rooms each house had. Since closets were counted as rooms, Southern architects quickly stopped building houses with closets. People kept their clothes in wardrobe-style cabinets instead. The phenomena wasn't unique to Britain. People will change their behavior to avoid paying taxes.
Quite true

Sometime its about paying less, whatever the cost!.... For example there are people who will drive dozens of miles to fill up their tank at a gas station where the price per liter/gallon is a few cents less....Even though the drive time (and the gas consumed by the drive) costs much more than the savings....

Paying less to the tax man is double the pleasure...

One such effect can be observed in Amsterdam (where someone had the brilliant idea to tax houses based on their width)




If a tax deduction could be had for walking about bare assed, you'd see nothing but bare asses in the streets...
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
14,086
If the window tax was tripled in 1797 from 6pence per window per year to 1s6d per year per window, why would anyone block their windows? The modern equivalent is £3.31 per window per year using the national archives calculator. A 14 window house would pay £46.34 per year, hardly a taxing tax. What was the cost of bricking up a window? The tax is so low it hardly seems worth households paying to block their windows at all. Is the national archives calculator wrong? What are your thoughts?
A smart brick layer would charge say 120 pounds for the lot and explain to the owner that in 3 years time it would be paid back... Then explain how much money that owner would save during a lifetime..... (but at the time most of these large estates had some kind of live in help, so it really would have been just the cost of the bricks, of which many would have been leftover from building the house or its dependencies... so bricking up would have been essentially "free" )
 
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Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
5,014
Australia
The poll tax was the hardest to dodge, which is why it was one of the most loathed taxes.
 

Isleifson

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
4,121
Lorraine tudesque
That's obvs where I started and explains the window tax. It doesn't answer my question though.
It is explaining the situation in France quite well. For the situation in Britain i don't know.

In France people used to say-why is the air of the country side so good?
-the farmer's houses don't have any window.
 
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