Throughout history there have been many strange, unusual, and weird taxes. Many of them were implemented to raise additional revenue, while the purpose of others was to promote social change. Here are some of the strangest ones:

Ancient Taxes from Around the World

  • In Ancient Egypt, cooking oil was taxed, and on top of that, people had to buy their taxed cooking oil from the Pharaoh’s monopoly, and were prohibited from reusing previously purchased oil.
  • In 1705, Russian Emperor Peter the Great placed a tax on beards, hoping to force men to adopt the clean-shaven look that was common in Western Europe.
  • The French had a salt tax called the gabelle, which angered many and was one of the contributing factors to the French Revolution.
  • In 1885 Canada created the Chinese Head Tax, which taxed the entry of Chinese immigrants into Canada. The tax lasted until 1923 when a law was passed banning Chinese people from entering Canada altogether with a few exceptions.

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