Talk:Tax per head

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"Ethical basis"[edit]

"As Abraham Lincoln said, 'As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master'. This moral position is also expressed clearly by Ayn Rand."

Strictly true, but the context in which this sentence has been used could easily be interpreted as meaning that Ayn Rand would have approved of the Poll Tax. In fact, Rand was morally opposed to all forms of involuntary taxation, regardless of whether one receives services directly in return for payment. --DudeGalea 11:46, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

The above comments refer to the following paragraph (since deleted) from the article:

The ethical basis for the Poll Tax is that members of society should pay for the goods and services that they consume from that society. No-one should be forced to pay for what they do not consume, and no-one should consume what they do not pay for. As Abraham Lincoln said, 'As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master'. This moral position is also expressed clearly by Ayn Rand. A Poll Tax covers the costs of basic services such as public transport, education and policing, which are assumed to be consumed roughly equally by all members of society, regardless of their wealth or earning power, so levies equal charges on its members for these services.

Services received vs services provided[edit]

Para 2 of United Kingdom says "This charged each person for the services they received in their community." Should this not read "This charged each person for the services provided in their community." Local authorities provide, eg, child-care which is funded by the childless, etc. Sbz5809 11:59, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Fixed. Does anyone else think this should be split into two pages - one for poll taxes in general, and another for the Community Charge aka Poll Tax. Morwen - Talk 09:02, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

Poll Tax[edit]

Changed an erroneous sentance, Margaret Thatcher did not reign.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:53, 16 April 2006

She probably liked to think she did! hedpeguyuk 13:06 11 June 2006 (UTC) False sig struck out by Jerzyt 19:35, 17 March 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hedpeguyuk (talkcontribs) 11:59, 11 June 2006

Poll tax in USA[edit]

In traditional (non-US) sense[edit]

"The capitation clause of Article I of the United States Constitution, requiring apportionment among the states of "direct taxes", makes imposition of a poll tax by the federal government unfeasible."

Wasn't this changed by the 16th amendment, which made individual (income) taxes legal?

Salvor Hardin 00:51, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

The above signed contrib was interrupted by the following contrib by another editor:
Note: above language was added on 2004-12-18 08:26:20 by Ellsworth Poll tax oldid=8605502.
--Jdlh | Talk 06:53, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
Besides being mildly confusing, it is (only) technically a forgery, by virtue of the combination of signature and interruption. I have moved the interrupting contrib to here.
--Jerzyt 19:35, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
JD is referring to the time at which the quoted text was added to the accompanying article.
--Jerzyt 19:35, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing this out. In fact, I think the original statement is incorrect; a poll tax was one of the few kinds of taxes clearly permitted by the capitation clause. 'Capitation' is another word for poll tax US Department of State on US Constitution. There is a related debate in the history of taxation in the United States about whether the capitation clause permitted an income tax. The Sixteenth Amendment was supposed to settle that. What I think is more relevant is that a) where the US federal government imposed a capitation, it didn't block participation in elections, and b) the US federal government doesn't run elections for its offices, the states run elections for federal offices. I think point b) really needs to be reflected in this paragraph about the Federal government and poll taxes. --Jdlh | Talk 06:53, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
Salvor Hardin, I rewrote the United States section extensively. See if this addresses your concerns about factual accuracy. If you're satisfied, please remove the tag. --Jdlh | Talk 08:08, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Georgia and voter-ID fee[edit]

An anonymous contributer added this sentence to the United States section of the article:

Georgia is currently accused of bringing back the use of a poll tax in this New York Times Article.

This sentence as it is a little awkward and possibly POV. Some research needs to be done on this topic and an appropriate paragraph inserted into the article. — Mateo SA | talk 00:54, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Actualy, it is better off not being in this article at all because otherwise lots of flat fees that are paid by a much higher percentage of the population than state id non driving would have to be listed, including the normal drivers license. Jon 14:06, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

whites of non british descent?[edit]

Is that factually accurate? Germans, French, and Scandinavian countries where not always looked down upon. Didnt they try to just disqualify poor whites? I dont know if it had anything to do with non british - Also considering how could one make the distinction between a british and a non british white in generally assiliamble society? Should it be changed? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:55, 14 February 2006

Yes, it needs changed. Race was not explictly part of the grandfather clause, instead a year was chosen prior to the abolition of slavery which had the effect of keeping poor blacks and also poor whites who immigrated after that date from voting. Jon 14:17, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Should taxes on right to vote be disambiguated out?[edit]

IMO, the inclusion of the former "poll taxes" in the American South as instances of head taxes is a tortured treatment of the phrase: the general American understanding of "poll tax" as meaning "voting tax" (i remember being shocked at Thatcher's apparent -- to me and i think virtually all Yanks -- "tone-deafness" in naming her head tax!) no longer amounts to a misunderstanding by Americans, but to a difference in usage. (If it is a false supposition that "poll" meant "voting place" to Americans when they adopted that usage, then it is indeed a folk etymology, but that is another issue.) Neither of the refs in Poll tax#Tax on voting contradicts the main body of the first relevant non-WP Google hit on "poll tax", which supports my life-long understanding that poll taxes were never a noticeable revenue source in the South, bcz no efforts were made to collect it, nor was anyone punished for its non-payment -- except blacks on election day.
It would be correct (at least technically) to have a ToP Dab (hatnote) reading something like

This is about creating government revenue with head taxes. For restricting the right to vote to those paying a particular tax, see Poll tax (voting).

It could (tho i doubt it) make more sense to keep both concepts in this one accompanying article (and in any case the two topics should be interlink'd by more than Dab-support mechanisms), but at the very least the current lead-sent misstates the current scope of the that article's topic.
I'll probably effect a split before long, in the absence of contrary arguments or pertinent refs cited in this talk-page section.
--Jerzyt 19:35, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

New Zealand head tax[edit]

I oppose any merger of New Zealand head tax to here. It is appropriate for this article to link to and summarise the New Zealand article, but there's enough material in the New Zealand article to warrant it being stand-alone.-gadfium 19:25, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

It's been three months since the merge tag was placed on this article, and I'm the only one who commented on it. I've removed the tag.-gadfium 08:37, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

UK poll tax[edit]

Shouldn't we split out Community Charge as a separate article? It was a major event in British politics and it seems odd there is no independent article about it. Morwen - Talk 14:54, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes, we really should... Shimgray | talk | 14:15, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
...done. Community Charge. Shimgray | talk | 14:30, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
I notice there is almost no mention of the riots which followed imposition of the poll tax during the thirteenth century or whenever, or even during the twentieth in the UK (The earlier ones were in ENGLAND...there is a difference). Also no mention that it was introduced a year early in Scotland, against the articles of Union, and never introduced in Northern Ireland. (Nothing to do with the large numbers of guns and the semtex floating around?) (talk) 21:41, 8 April 2013 (UTC)Lance Tyrell

Alternative meaning for "capitation"[edit]


I came this way by searching on the term "capitation" and was redirected to "Poll tax" without first going through a disambiguation page. In the USA, "capitation" is a also concept in healthcare, aside from and independent of any poll tax issue. Physicians are "capitated" under certain managed care arrangements in which they receive a set amount of money per patient per unit time (e.g. $50 per patient per month) as compensation for taking that patient under their care. This money is paid whether or not the patient needs care during that time period (and the physician assumes some risk when the patient does). This is a reimbursement cost control and risk-shifting approach commonly taken by Health Maintenance Organizations. Capitation is an alternative to "fee for service" arrangements. Maybe we need a disambiguation page. Any takers?



Community Charge[edit]

..."apparently chose to be both ruthless in imposing it and adamant that there would be no "U-turns" (reversals in policy)." This is egregious bias. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:23, 21 January 2007 (UTC).

Anonymous editor added a few paragraphs on 00:28, March 21, 2007 which for me took the section beyond my comfort for unsourced statements. I tagged the entire Community Charge section as "Unreferenced". There's only one reference cited in 16 paragraphs. I also deleted some text and fixed some spelling mistakes. --Jdlh | Talk 20:24, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

  • I deleted this text: "Students and UB40s only pay 20%, so for any given property what should be the income. Even with a successful collection it is uneconomic to chase a 20%er." because it's difficult to understand (what's a UB40? 20% of what?) and poorly written (different tense from rest of paragraph). --Jdlh | Talk 20:24, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
  • I deleted the modifier "immensely popular" in the paragraph about it being a voluntary tax. I guess this was intended as a sarcastic comment, but it's not clear. --Jdlh | Talk 20:24, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

"The initial register was wildly apocryphal. It was based on the rates register for "owned" houses with lots of other dodgy data such as housing benefit recipients. So in a university town the data was very dirty, and needed extensive cleaning and maintenance."

This paragraph doesn't read very encyclopedically - I don't know enough about the issue to fix it Kisch 04:23, 24 March 2007 (UTC)


Not sure what the actual amount payable was but the 14th century tax section says "groat (2p)". A groat was 4p or more correctly, 4d. Stutley 13:28, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

4d = 4/2.4 = 1.7p, so it's correct to the nearest penny. Duncan Keith 05:01, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

How high was the Poll Tax in UK?[edit]

Does anybody have a quote how high the Poll Tax in the UK was? How much had someone to pay per year? Ccwelt 17:53, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

It was set on a council by council basis so could vary quite wildly. The figures are further complicated by students and the registered unemployed only having to pay 20% of the "headline" figure and by central government stepping in in 1991 to cut all poll taxes by £140 as an interim measure whilst a replacement was worked out. I seem to recall the headline figure extremes before the cut were £136 in Wandsworth and over £500 in Lambeth. Timrollpickering (talk) 13:07, 5 June 2011 (UTC)


Got cited: (talk) 04:25, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Renaming to Poll Tax[edit]

I just overhauled this article, adding or re-doing the sections on poll taxes in ancient Israel, Roman empire, Islam, 17th C. England and France. I'd like to propose renaming this article "Poll tax" and renaming the current "Poll tax" article (which deals exclusively with the voting tax of Jim Crow USA), as something else e.g. "Poll tax (US)" or "Poll tax (US, 20th C.)" or "Voter tax" or some such. The term "poll tax" is quite well-known and prevalent in customary usage to refer to a capitation tax, and scholarly studies in history, economics, fiscal policy, etc. usually mean precisely that. It is rare to call it a "Tax per head" (and misleading, because poll taxes are not necessarily constant "per head" by may be qualified by rank, income class, etc. and moreover sounds like the calculation of a ratio, rather than a specific tax.) "Capitation tax" is the only other possible alternative. Reserving the well-known "Poll tax" term for a peculiar voting tax in some US states of short duration is too narrow, when compared to incomparably larger and more general usage of the "Poll tax" term. So, unless someone objects, I intend to change the title of this page to "Poll tax" and the title of the Jim Crow-specific voter tax to "Poll tax (US)". I'll stay my hand for a few days to let others chime in. Walrasiad (talk) 22:00, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

I think the best way would be to rename the current poll tax to poll tax (United States), Get Poll Tax and poll tax to redirect here, finally add {{main|Poll tax (United States)}} to the US section here. Sophie means wisdom (talk) 13:44, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Actually, i'll just be WP:BOLD with this.
Done, all double redirects sorted too. Sophie means wisdom (talk) 14:03, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Is Jizya a Poll Tax?[edit]

The definition of a Poll tax according to the article is that its a Tax per head, a uniform tax imposed equally upon all residents of a certain age. There is even some quote in the article from a religious book saying that both rich and poor must pay an equal share. " a tax of a portioned, fixed amount applied to an individual in accordance with the census ". "The word poll is an English word that once meant "head" - and still does, in some specialized contexts - hence the name poll tax for a per-person tax."

The Jizya Tax is (a) not uniform / not a fixed amount per person , (b) is a punitive income based tax levied against specific minority groups (c)Form of tax whereby minorities pay for limited basic rights that the majority enjoys at no cost. Countries that have Jizya taxes have a Poll Tax (called Zakat, at 2.5% per person) which meets all the criteria of a Poll Tax. The Jizya Tax ( at 10% to 50% per person) is a selective tax imposed on second class citizens with the intent to punish minorities.

This section should be removed and added to a form of taxation it represents - and a Poll Tax is just not it. Consensus?

Cheers! Meishern (talk) 20:11, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

I understand the concern. However, jizya is commonly characterized as a poll tax in the literature (e.g. [1], [2]. [3] etc.), and it does have its features. The lede of the article that may be a bit misleading. "Tax per head" is the method of assessment. That does not necessarily mean all heads. Indeed, you will notice that, in practice, nearly all poll taxes are scaled for social position, and allow ample exceptions for certain segments of the population. The defining point of a poll tax is that it is assessed per head, and not per dollar earned or per dollar of value. Jizya was not a percentage, but rather fixed sum payable by a person of a certain social status. Now, jizya rolls defined the social status in terms of religion, and it is true that, in practice, social status was further differentiated into three "classes" with cut-offs determined by income level. In that respect, it does have some features of an income tax. But the sum payable is not scaled to income within a class, but per person in that class, and so remains inherently a poll tax. Walrasiad (talk) 12:10, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

it was not too unpopular[edit]

What does that mean, in plain language please?

Largely unreferenced[edit]

This article has very few references. While it appears well written, it is impossible to determine whether this is in fact all original research or flatly wrong. References are desperately needed. Capitalismojo (talk) 13:36, 7 August 2014 (UTC)