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Regency Period Taxes in England

Taxes in the Time of Jane Austen


It seems like no matter how far back you go in history, there have always been taxes when there was some sort of currency and governing body involved. The further back you go, the more interesting the taxes get. Some of the more unique taxes can be found in one of the most romantic periods of all time — the Regency era in Great Britain from 1811-1820. Here are the taxes to expect if you were living in Jane Austen's time, according to Regency researcher Nancy Mayer:

  • Servants: You got taxed two pounds, eight shillings every year for every male servant you had. The more servants you had, the higher the tax.
  • Window tax: This was a crafty way to tax the rich since bigger houses tend to have more windows. The tax increased the more windows there were in a home. To avoid the window tax, some sneaky homeowners bricked up their windows.
  • Hair powder: People who wore hair powder had to pay a tax of about one pound a year.
  • Dogs: Owning a dog would result in a tax, and the more dogs you have, the more you'd get taxed.
  • Carriages: You had to pay 12 pounds a year for a four-wheeled carriage for pleasure. The more servants you had, the higher the tax. If you had two of these carriages, you got taxed 26 pounds, and if you had three, you'd be taxed 42 pounds.

If you think one pound a year is a small amount, keep in mind that the average farmer in that era made about 15 to 20 pounds a year.

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