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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course English: Taxes, Lists, Business, Electoral and Insurance Records  by Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).


Contents

Income Taxes

Income Taxes 1404-1504

A series of experimental taxes on income, chiefly from the profits of landowning, were tried in the 15th century. Rates varied from 2% to 10% and were raised from 1404-1489, those for 1411, 1428, 1431 and 1435 being in print (see Jurkowski et al. Lay Taxes in England and Wales 1188-1688., 1998).

Income Taxes 1799-1802, 1803- 1816, 1842-date

Tax on personal income was first levied as a temporary measure from 1799 until 1802 at a rate of 2/- in the £(10%) to help pay for the war against France (see A tax to beat Napoleon plus the website. Unsurprisingly, it was revived in 1803 but then repealed in 1816, then reinstituted in 1842 and remains a major contributor to government coffers even though it is still a temporary measure and has to be re-enacted each spring. Individual income tax returns have not been preserved; nowadays they are kept for 6 years and then wiped from the Inland Revenue computers.

Alien Subsidies 1440-1512

Foreign merchants and craftsmen became unpopular in England towards the end of the Hundred Years’ War (1338-1453) and a new poll tax was levied on foreigners, known as the alien subsidy. This was typically an annual levy of 16d per head for alien property owners and 6d per head for non-householders, but in 1449 higher rates were demanded for alien merchants (6s 8d) and their clerks (20d). Evasion was widespread, rates continued to rise and another category, the alien brewer was created in 1483. Children under 12, clerics and those who purchased denization were exempt. The Irish were not considered aliens after 1442, and exemptions were made for certain groups such as the Italian merchants (1483), Hanse, Spanish and Breton merchants (1483 and 1487). There are surviving inquests (enquiries), assessment rolls and accounts for all of the alien subsidies in TNA class E 179. Jurkowski et al. have photos of enquiries into aliens in Southampton 1468, and Northamptonshire 1469.

Certificates of Residence 1558-1625

Each taxpayer was only charged once for any tax, at his normal place of residence, for all of his possessions throughout the country. To prevent double-charging, certificates of residence were issued from the beginning of Elizabeth I’s reign (1558) until 1625 and large numbers of them survive in class E 115, indexed by personal name. Examples are shown here .


Chart: Certificate of Residence 1595/6

Exchequer - Queen’s Remembrancer TNA E 115/125/176
Re: Subsidy granted by Parliament 19 Feb 35 Eliz 1592/3

Richard DASHWOOD of the Tythings of Tarrant Moncton within the hundred of Up Wimborne Moncton, [Dorset] assessed at £8 in goods where wth his familie at the tyme of the taxacion .... Was cormorant, resiant and abindinge.
Not to be taxed elsewhere
20 Jan 38 Eliz (1595/6)
Edmund Uvedale esq one of commissioners and signatories
.
[He also had property in Dorchester, Piddletown hundred, Dorset].

Exchequer - Queen’s Remembrancer TNA E 115/115/93
Certificates of Residence for Subsidy, Dorset.

Robert DASHWOOD of Moore Critchell is taxed at Morre Critchell in the hundred of Badbery at 30s each for the two subsidies now payable. The sd Robert Dashwood was there abiding with his household and family at the time of the sd taxation and for most part of the yeare before. This wee certifie to thende he may be discharged att Tarrant Mouncton where he also standeth charged towards the payment ....
25 Oct 1641.
Edmund Okeden one of the signatories.


Monthly and Weekly Assessments 1642-1680

Monthly or Weekly Assessments were instigated by a parliament free of royal control during the Civil War, and continued during the Commonwealth and for most of Charles II’s reign. There were dozens of assessments raised for the defence of individual counties, and nationally for the parliamentary army, known as the tax for Sir Thomas Fairfax’s army. The government also had to contend with rebellion in Ireland and a war with Spain and thus several assessments were levied during this period for these purposes as well, and all may have been recorded in one book by the local tax collector.

Some of these assessments had low thresholds so included a large percentage of the population, up to seven times as many as in previous assessments. There are a lot of surviving records, including those listing individual landowners and tenants with annual income from their land, taxes payable and personal estates. The wage limit easily exempted the ordinary labourer. Aliens paid double, but if they were too poor for the assessment then they paid a poll tax of 2/8d. Gibson and Dell list the surviving assessments for 1641, and Gibson similarly for 1660-1685. Jurkowski et al. have a beautiful example of an assessment for Sir Thomas Fairfax’s army in 1645 for St. Mary Cray, Kent.

Unlike the subsidies, where a landowner was taxed only in his place of residence (but for all his lands or goods), the assessments were charged separately in each parish where he had property. This is important as it enables the researcher to build a picture of a man’s total property. It also means that parish lists do not contain only parishioners, and they are not always distinguished in separate sections (Stoate’s Devon Taxes 1581-1660, 1988).

Decimation Tax 1655

This 10% tax on income from land was imposed on former Royalists during one year in the Commonwealth period. Other royalists had their estates seized with profits going to finance the parliamentarians in the Civil War; yet others were allowed to keep their estates but were banished from the realm.

Free and Voluntary Present 1661-1662

At the Restoration of Charles II parliament granted a one-time tax, not unlike the former benevolences, called the free and voluntary present. Citizens could contribute whatever amount they wished, up to a limit of £200 for a commoner and £400 for a peer, to support the king. Clearly it was not wise to refuse to contribute, but there are notes in the records which indicate that some were less than pleased at the king’s return. Webb (The Free and Voluntary Present 1661-62. Genealogists’ Magazine Vol. 22 #1, page 12-13, 1986) notes one Richard Peete of Fetcham, Surrey a reputed Quaker was a man of very sufficient means, but would lay but 1 shilling.

Samuel Pepys noted the following in his diary:

31 May 1661
Great talk now how the Parliament intend to make a collection of free gifts to the King through the Kingdom; but I think it will not come to much.
31 Aug 1661.
The Benevolence proves so little, and an occasion of so much discontent everywhere, that it had better it had never been set up. I think to subscriber £20.


Collections were usually made on town market days and Williams notes that many people chose to contribute with their remainders of the Commonwealth coinage, which had already been called in and was now worthless, or with counterfeit money. Since this was a free gift the collectors could hardly refuse anything and so the king’s coffers were not as amply refilled as he had hoped! Records containing at least the names and amounts contributed for nearly 40 English and Welsh counties can be found in class E 179. Many are found mixed in with the Hearth Tax Returns which were taken at the same time. Webb (1986) found that in Surrey, just over half of those paying Hearth Tax also contributed to the Present but the percentage in any one place varied from less than 25% to over 90%. This may be due partly to political or religious differences, but also to the zeal of individual collectors. However, there were many who contributed to the Present who do not appear on the Hearth Tax Rolls, and a great advantage over many 17th century records is the addition of occupations for most contributors to the Present. Chart 10 is an example from Titsey, Surrey. Williams (Norwich Subscriptions to the Voluntary Gift of 1662. Norfolk Record Society Vol. I) has edited the returns for Norwich, Norfolk, and Gibson (The Hearth Tax, Other Later Stuart Tax Lists and the Association Oath Rolls, 1990) lists all known ones by county.

Chart: Free and Voluntary Present 1661-2 Titsey, Surrey
[data from Webb 1982b]

The record shows only four people contributing:
Phineas DARKNELL clerk 10/-
(Dame) Elizabeth GRESHAM £6 3s 4d
Rob BEDFORD husb(andman) 3/-
Tho WHIFFIN husb(andman) 3/-


Royal Aids 1661-1834

Taxes paid to the crown. known as royal aids, were assessed especially during the first fifty years of the Restoration and an example from the surviving series for Bristol is shown here.

Chart: 1665 Bristol Royal Aid FHL Film 2094880

Bristol An assessment on the parish of St. Ewens for three pounds fiveteen shillings and fourpence ye moneth for three moneths
com[m]encing the 29th September 1665.

NAME
RENTS
s....d
GOODS
s....d
TOTALL
s....d
--Rodard widowe
01..08
00..08
02..04
Jeremiah Hollway senr
03..00
05..00
08..00
Thomas Millard
01..04
01..04
02..08
John Robins esqe
03..06
02..06
06..00
Thomas Browne
01..00
00..04
01..04
Ffrancis Yeamans junr
01..08
01..00
02..08
Richard Hollester
01..00
00..09
01..09
Philipp Dorney
02..04
02..04
04..08
Thomas Wall
01..08
02..00
03..08
Sarah Bennett widowe
03..08
01..02
04..10
Robert Gilford
00..00
01..04
01..04
William Haines
00..00
01..02
01..02
Timothy Townsend
00..00
00..08
00..08
John Harris
00..00
00..08
00..08
Thomas Thomas in toto
00..00
00..00
02..10
Elienor Martin in toto
00..00
00..00
03..06
John Smith
01..06
00..10
02..04
Widowe Goodyeare for the house late in the holding of Nicholas Hayter
01..09
00..00
01..09
Nivholas Meredith in toto
00..00
00..00
02..08
Abraham Nicholls
02..00
00..04
02..04
Anthony Brereton
02..00
00..10
02..10
John Hollester
01..06
01..04
02..10
-- Nickins widowe
02..04
00..04
02..08
John Nicholls
00..00
01..00
01..00
Gilbert Moore in toto
00..00
00..00
02..04
John Llewellin in toto
00..00
00..00
02..00
Richard Clifford
02..00
01..08
03..08
Robert Webster
00..00
00..08 00..08
[Total}
3
15
4
Signatures Nich: Meredith
Fra: Yeamans junr
Signature with seals...... John Willoughby Maier
Walter Smily
Thomas Langton
John Bradway
Ricd Streamer (?)



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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course English: Taxes, Lists, Business, Electoral and Insurance Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

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