Talk:Poll tax

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(Such taxes not popular)[edit]

Nice article: the only thing is I am going to change the word popular: neither were... sjc— Preceding unsigned comment added by Sjc (talkcontribs) 09:58, 3 November 2001

The above talk contrib was improperly removed at 22:38, 19 May 2005 by a colleague who commented in relevant part "deleted obsolete statement" and apparently made no effort to archive the contrib.
--Jerzyt 03:17, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
By popular I meant the term was "in common or predominant usage", no-one calls it Community Charge these days and most people have forgotten the orginal term. One thing I did miss out that was that the poll tax unrest certainly felt as if it was part of a largely cycle of unrest at the time but I can't currently document this to my satisfaction. -- Aristotle :::— Preceding unsigned comment added by ‎ Aristotle (talk) 10:06, 3 November 2001 That contrib was separately removed 15:51, 25 February 2002, seemingly by an automated procedure and perhaps in error, while fixing the sig line of the Sjc comment above.

"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.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Mateo SA (talk) 22:38, 19 May 2005

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)

  •    Ah! I was just prodded into revisiting that contrib, and i was clueless about the fact that "poll" has to do with voting and opinion polling (and polling in communications!) bcz "poll" is a very old word for head. Is my face red!
    --Jerzyt 07:30, 30 October 2014 (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?


Lycophron — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:45, 18 October 2006

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? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:22, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

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)

Imperial China[edit]

The Imperial China section is poorly worded and unclear. I don't understand it well enough to fix it myself.

Definitely needs to be revised. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:09, 20 October 2015 (UTC)

Move to Poll tax[edit]

I have requested that this article be moved to Poll tax.Mikedelsol (talk) 18:48, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Requested move 19 October 2014[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: no consensus to move the page at this time, per the discussion below. Dekimasuよ! 00:12, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

Tax per headPoll tax – move over redirect to give the article the right name. --Relisted. Dekimasuよ! 00:25, 27 October 2014 (UTC)  – Mikedelsol (talk) 18:52, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

This is a contested technical request (permalink). Anthony Appleyard (talk) 22:40, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
  • The term "poll tax" is ambiguous and should have been disambiguated before now; I've replaced the redirect with a dabpage. If you feel strongly about this, you'll need to open a full move request. (talk) 22:23, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose unless there is some indication that this could be the primary topic over Poll tax (United States). Let me know though if this proposal changes from a primary topic decision to one about moving the current Tax per head to a potentially more common name.--Yaksar (let's chat) 22:50, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment, I hope they don't think to tax the rest of our bodies as well. It seems to me that this is a difficult topic to accurately and sensibly name. "... tax per head" and "tax per person" can both fit into longer search terms that don't necessarily apply to the topic. Equally it may be possible to exact a "poll tax" on someone that doesn't have a vote. Gregkaye 10:59, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Support This is the main article about the subject (which I've only ever heard referred to as a poll tax); the New Zealand and US articles are about this concept in those countries, and in this context, I think it's inappropriate for the main title to be a DAB. It's like Tax and Taxation in the United States. Number 57 15:25, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
User:Number 57, the difference between this topic and taxation is that in this case the articles are two totally different subjects that are both called a poll tax, not a sub article about the main concept in a specific country.--Yaksar (let's chat) 15:30, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Yaksar If you read this article, you'll see that both the US and NZ versions are covered, with a Main article headline links going off to the NZ one (the US one didn't have one, but I've just added it, as the section is clearly about what is in that article). Number 57 15:48, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
User:Number 57, I realize that it discusses that, but I worry that is somewhat due to attempts to synthesize two distinct concepts into one article just because they share the word "poll". Indeed, the concept of "poll" they share seems to differ, in the US being literally a fee required to vote in polls while in the UK a poll tax is based on the census poll. Indeed, the first sentence of this article says it is about "a tax of a portioned, fixed amount applied to an individual in accordance with the census (as opposed to a percentage of income)", a definition which does not describe the voting impediment. I think some of the issue boils down to the discussion above, where the USA version was initially its own article at Poll tax and was moved to its current page. At the time, this article did not discuss both distinct concepts, but it seems that they were incorrectly boiled together.--Yaksar (let's chat) 16:11, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Note, however, that there is a section in this article under United States about "Capitation and federal taxation". This certainly is the same subject as this article, even though it is not called a "poll tax" in the US.--Yaksar (let's chat) 16:33, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
(ec) You may be right that the concepts should be separated, but I don't think that takes anything away from the fact that the title of this article should be "poll tax", because that is what it is commonly known as (I have never heard of it described as a "tax per head" despite having working in accountancy). The American version can be mentioned in a hatnote if it is a totally different concept. Number 57 16:35, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm not so sure. It may be a case of WP:ENGVAR, I still have to look into it more. It seems that in the UK it was certainly most commonly known as a poll tax (although wasn't it also called the Community Charge)? But in the USA it seems it is referred to as a capitation tax, and it seems to be described in cases like the Ottoman Empire Jizya as a "per capita tax". The historical taxes in Canada and New Zealand, on the other hand, seem to have been called "Head taxes". If "poll tax" would be a name we would have to disambiguate, and if the current title has been used to accurately describe the subject, I'm not sure if the proposed change would be an improvement.--Yaksar (let's chat) 16:49, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
"Community Charge" was the official name, but it was almost exclusively known as the poll tax (see All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation, Anti-Poll Tax Unions and Poll Tax Riots. I hadn't realised the main article on that topic was misnamed. Number 57 16:51, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Got it, seems like a case of official vs. common name on that one.--Yaksar (let's chat) 17:01, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per lack of primary topic. Red Slash 04:09, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. For many readers, a poll tax has a different meaning. -- Calidum 02:45, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
    • What different meaning?  AjaxSmack  03:22, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
  • As the article states, "Often in US discussions, "poll tax," is used to mean a tax that must be paid in order to vote, rather than a capitation tax simply."--Yaksar (let's chat) 21:36, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Support The statement just above has logic. Can't agree that the articles are two totally different subjects, as Tax per head has a lead discussing "poll tax" in general including the US, followed by sections for particular countries again including the US. The present disambig under Poll tax is thus unnecessary. "Tax per head" is a concept and not a name; we would have to fall back on that if "poll tax" had not been adopted in the US and for centuries in the British Isles. (It was resonances from the Peasants' Revolt that made the 1980s opponents rename the community charge as "poll tax", and the name stuck. There is a gap for a historical article about Poll tax in England (Scotland? Wales? Ireland?): Noyster (talk), 21:03, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Did you read the discussion above? The term does not have the same meaning in the USA. And in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada it seems to be called a head tax, while int he USA it is called a capitation tax. If we were going to change it, capitation or head tax would be preferable since it would be the clear primary topic for those terms.--Yaksar (let's chat) 21:25, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
  • These are all synonymous terms. Poll=head=caput (thence capitation). Srnec (talk) 00:42, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. Poll tax = head tax = tax per head. Srnec (talk) 21:57, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Oh, I can't believe I forgot to mention this. Usage in the US is so different that in fact there is in fact an amendment to the constitution (and a supreme court case) banning "poll taxes", completely unrelated to the Capitation tax clause.--Yaksar (let's chat) 22:03, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
    • The capitation tax clause restricts Congress. The poll tax amendment restricts the States. In both cases they are the same kind of tax. Some Americans have just been confused by historical coincidence into believing that the "poll" in poll tax refers to a vote. Srnec (talk) 00:42, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
      • You may be right on that, actually. But it's no longer confusion - perhaps at one point it initially was, but now this is the actual definition of what the term means in common usage. For example, when sources like the NY Times discuss how Voter ID laws are like poll taxes, they mean it as a restriction on voting, not as a form of capitation tax.--Yaksar (let's chat) 00:55, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, not the primary topic at "poll tax". Could theoretically be moved to "Poll tax (United Kingdom)" but meh to that as well. SnowFire (talk) 00:21, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. "Poll tax" is the generic, common term for any lump sum tax assessed on a person rather than scaled on income or value. It is the term used in practically all economics & pubic finance literature - including the US. "Poll taxes", like "excise taxes", "income taxes", "value-added taxes" are general terms. The term "tax per head" is pretty much unheard-of - it is not a familiar term, it is a description, like calling a "rifle" a "elongated bullet-propelling firing stick". The "poll tax" used in eight southern US states for a spell is a poll tax (a fixed sum per person) that happens to be assessed at the voting station. It is not a 'new meaning', but a specific application of the concept. New York Times also refers to "income tax" to mean the specific IRS-administered tax, and the British press refer to the "VAT" to the specific EU-ordered VAT. These specific applications of general concepts do not take precedence nor invalidate the primacy of the general topic. Walrasiad (talk) 22:29, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  • If we're going to pick a different name for the topic, there's no reason to pick the one that has evolved in to a different meaning for a large portion (perhaps even the majority, based on page view numbers) of our readers, to the point where it is not even the clear primary topic for the term. As indicated by use in current sources such as the NY Times link above, the term almost exclusively in the US refers to a payment as an impediment of voting (poll in this case referring to an electoral ballot) and not a per head tax. Head tax, capitation tax, or per capita tax all do not suffer from that issue.--Yaksar (let's chat) 23:34, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Each supporting argument seems to be based on the fact that "poll tax" is a generic term that embraces all of the forms of poll taxes that we've thot of covering. That would be a compelling article candidate if WP had a lexicographic organization, but it does not (and must not). To be a primary topic (for a given term), a sense must be intended more often than all the other senses combined. We should have an article about what all poll taxes have in common, but it cannot be the primary topic bcz so few people use it in the general sense. Arguably, both Canadians and New Zealanders are most likely to use it in the same sense as each other (whether or not they individually recognize that as being true), but surely most of them mean the mechanism for limiting and adding selectivity to Asian immigration, and probably have no idea that there is a broader sense. Speaking as a fairly cosmopolitan Yank, i feel i'm an expert witness for the fact that nearly all Yanks mean one of the crucial planks of Jim Crow, and if they've heard of the UK use of "poll tax", they (a) probably ignorantly imagine Maggie chose that name for it, and (b) probably consider anyone who uses the term tone-deaf to the connotations it has to all speakers of God's native language.
           Yes, there should be an article, linked from the Dab page Poll tax (and perhaps a second Dab page rather than a redirect Head tax, since there may be e.g. CDs and scholarly works bearing one or the other phrase as titles) about the core etymology and how it has fed into the national and Commonwealth dialects. And don't forget an article on the economic analysis of head taxes. But no primary topic.
    --Jerzyt 08:08, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
  • There's only one meaning of "poll tax"/"head tax". Instances of poll taxes do not compete with the concept of the poll tax for primacy any more than "Arabian horse" competes with "horse" or "President of the United States" with "president". Srnec (talk) 18:12, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

   Sorry, Srnec, that you're just not getting it.
   For the benefit of others: as far as i can tell, Srnec and perhaps others aren't going to see that disambiguation is not about "what does X mean?" but about

When they type in 'X' for an encyclopedia article that they think of as "X ... or, well, something that X might be close to, or short for", what topics' articles might Y want to read?

And by the same token, being right is not enuf when writing for WP: it's more like helping our readers get to be righter.
--Jerzyt 22:47, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

Requested move 29 December 2015[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Move. It appears that we have general agreement that this topic is usually called poll tax, and a rougher but discernible consensus that it's the primary topic of the term. The point argued below that the U.S. version of the poll tax is not a separate subject but rather a variant of the poll tax/head tax/tax per head is compelling. Cúchullain t/c 16:39, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Tax per headPoll tax – The current title of this article is not the most common name for this type of tax. That would be "poll tax" or "head tax". The current dab page at poll tax merely lists some historical poll taxes. The term itself is not ambiguous at all. ("Poll tax" appears to be more common than "head tax" per Google ngrams.) Srnec (talk) 00:04, 29 December 2015 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.


Any additional comments:
  • Oppose because "poll tax" has two primary meanings: a capitation tax or a tax on the right to vote. I do agree that "tax per head" is an awkward title, so I would favor a move to capitation tax (108,000 Google Books/2,780 Google Scholar hits), which is more common than "tax per head" (4,800 Google Books hits/292 Google Scholar hits). Neutralitytalk 02:35, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
    • That's not true. That's a misunderstanding. "Poll tax" has always only meant "tax per head" and never "tax on the right to vote". This is why this move is important: to prevent this misunderstanding in the future. Poll taxes in the USA were just plain old annual poll taxes payment of which was sometimes made a condition of voting. Srnec (talk) 02:58, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
      • In the U.S. context, the dominant meaning of "poll tax" refers to the use of a tax as a legal instrument of disenfranchisement. The fact that these were often capitulation taxes is besides the point. As one user explained in the last page-move discussion (above): when sources like the NY Times compare something to poll taxes, "they mean it as a restriction on voting, not as a form of capitation tax." If you look at sources, they reflect this, i.e. "the poll tax, i.e., a tax imposed on a citizen as a prerequisite to voting" or "the levying of a tax on the right to vote." And we really can't conflate the traditional forms of capitation taxes to the U.S. poll tax in the voting rights context, since "The purposes of the tax was clearly to disenfranchise African Americans and not to collect revenue because there are no records of any state officials prosecuting any citizens for failure to pay the tax" (source). So I don't accept that the U.S. meaning of "poll tax" in the voting-rights context is essentially "plain old annual poll taxes." Maybe in form, but not in reality. Neutralitytalk 03:34, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
        • The motive for the tax does not change the meaning.  AjaxSmack  03:59, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. "Poll Tax" historically has also meant a tax on the act of openly and wantonly being Chinese, a euphemism that is not currently explained adequately anywhere even though most of Wikipedia's "poll tax" articles are about the racial meaning. That's in addition to the distinction between US and British usage - note that these are not the only two countries in the world. US law prohibits poll taxes but explicitly allows capitations. Lastly, I note that the nominator has simply copied his rationale from the last several times this was nominated, by him, without providing evidence for his assertions and without acknowledging the prior opposition. (talk) 03:55, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
As a separate point - yes, the current title is bad. (talk) 04:18, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Not really the same thing at all. TheJack15 (talk) 05:08, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
    • Why not?  AjaxSmack  03:59, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
      • Striking confirmed sock. Tiggerjay (talk) 22:52, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. Poll tax is the meaning of this article. Suggesting otherwise merely reveals unfamiliarity with fiscal terms. There is no "tax on voting". There never has been one. Ever. What there is - and has been in many places and times - are property requirements for voting, often diluted to merely proving you are a "responsible" tax-paying citizen rather than a "irresponsible" propertyless pauper dependent on social welfare (worry about "irresponsible voters" is grumbled about as long as voting has existed). That means all votes must produce evidence they have paid any and all land taxes, property taxes, income taxes, excise taxes and poll taxes they might owe in order to be eligible to vote. This is true of all taxes, and in many locations, countries and times. A poll tax is just one among many taxes that must have been proven to be paid, and the only one a propertyless person cannot dodge. It was introduced in many states at the outset since 1776, although eventually phased out a half-century later. The only reason it happens to be particularly associated with post-bellum Jim Crow is because new poll taxes were introduced in southern states after 1870s implicitly designed for the purpose of disenfranchsing, rather than for revenue-raising (as most poll taxes were previously), i.e. there was little or no attempt to actually collect poll tax revenues in post-bellum south. But the meaning of the poll tax is the original, however deviously that tax might be deployed later. Walrasiad (talk) 05:29, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Support per nom and User:Walrasiad. This article already covers the US poll tax as well (here) so I'm not sure why there is opposition to a move based on a supposed different meaning in the US. —  AjaxSmack  03:56, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Support per WP:COMMONNAME. Number 57 13:31, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Hatnote to Community Charge[edit]

A hatnote to Community Charge is imperative in my view, it is by far the most famous example of a poll tax in recent history.--Nevéselbert 22:35, 10 March 2017 (UTC)

Article hat notes are there to help readers who have come to the wrong article, when the article itself would not point them in the right direction. In this case it's simply a subtopic of the article and one which is featured prominently in the lead. I'll add a link in the lead so that the readers who are interested in the article on that subtopic won't even need to read beyond the third sentence. Eperoton (talk) 23:01, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
Your proposed solution is worse than woefully inadequate. The most infamous example in recent history of a poll tax remains the Community Charge. Virtually nobody in Britain still remembers it by its official name, and that includes the vast majority of Conservatives; in short, the title of this article is by far the WP:COMMONNAME for the tax imposed by Mrs Thatcher. See Poll Tax riots, not Community Charge riots, for one example. A hatnote at the top of the article where everyone can see it (without effort) is IMO the best solution.--Nevéselbert 19:32, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
None of this strikes me as a convincing argument for putting the link into a hatnote. WP:COMMONNAME is a policy about article names which is not relevant here. The relevant guideline is WP:HAT and what you're proposing is a type of improper usage discussed in WP:RELATED. If you're trying to help readers navigate to that subtopic, why did you just delete the link in the lead intended to do just that? Also, please consult WP:CANVASS. Eperoton (talk) 20:44, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
Considering how it's unlikely we're going to reach an agreement on this on our own, I've requested a third opinion.--Nevéselbert 22:39, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
It looks like you've already gotten a third opinion here [4]. Eperoton (talk) 22:49, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
Can't give a third opinion as I'm too parti pris on the subject but I agree with Neve-selbert (talk · contribs) principally because people did, and still do, refer to the Community Charge as "the Poll Tax" (emphasis added); they don't refer to it as "a Poll Tax". A lot of the hits on this page will be for people who are looking for the UK tax from 1990-93 which is precisely the justification for hatnotes. If, hypothetically, there was no generic concept of a poll tax, then the Community Charge article would very probably have to be moved here under WP:COMMONNAME. Sam Blacketer (talk) 23:05, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
Another one in agreement with Neve-selbert here. The Community Charge was commonly known as the poll tax. Number 57 23:48, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
Ok, fine. We'll be violating WP:HAT to cater to a local audience, but this issue is too minor to take a stand on. Eperoton (talk) 23:59, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
plus Added.--Nevéselbert 00:58, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
I've changed it to your first version. The definition of poll tax wasn't correct, and in general the hatnote isn't the place to define the subject of the article. Eperoton (talk) 01:24, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
How on earth was it not correct? It's based off of the Oxford definition.--Nevéselbert 18:00, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── In the United States, "poll tax" primarily brings to mind the poll taxes of the late 1800s. We even have an article on Poll taxes in the United States. Most Americans—of which there are about 5x as many as Brits—will not even know about Margaret Thatcher's poll tax. Why single it out for a hatnote? Srnec (talk) 01:46, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

Ok, so we now have three opinions for inclusion of the hatnote and three against. That doesn't sound like a WP:CONSENSUS for the inclusion required per WP:ONUS. Let's see if we get additional input. I'd like to see a policy-based argument for inclusion with reference to WP:HAT Eperoton (talk) 01:50, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
Per my reading of the WP:HAT policy, the inclusion of a hatnote to Community Charge is supported by point 4 in the lede ('if a notable topic X is commonly referred to as "Foo", but "Foo" is not about X, there must be a hatnote containing a link either to the article on X or a disambiguation page') and by the final line of WP:RELATED ('This guideline does not discourage the use of disambiguation hatnotes in a situation where separate topics are related, but could nonetheless be referred to by the same title'). Per Sam Blacketer above, "the poll tax" is the common name for the Community Charge; it's not just some subset of the more general concept of poll taxes, which is what's covered here, it's the actual common name of the thing.Anaxial (talk) 06:43, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
How can we say that this article is not about Thatcher's poll tax but about a separate topic, when we have a long subsection devoted to it here and mention it in the lead? This isn't an article about the general concept of poll tax, which doesn't really exist, but rather about various instances of poll taxes. In a sense this article is less like Constitution and more like Constitution (disambiguation).
On the other hand, I'm not entirely convinced by Srnec's objection. Are other poll taxes commonly referred to as "the poll tax(es)" without qualification? I'm not sure I've heard this usage in the US. Eperoton (talk) 14:24, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
Agree with Nevé, and strongly disagree that the hatnote would be too UK-centric. All the other instances are only of historic interest: in the UK the poll tax is still a live political issue.
Gravuritas (talk) 18:25, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
How is the Community Charge a live political issue? Any more than voter suppression in the US? Srnec (talk) 20:54, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

Two definitions?[edit]

I think The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics is wrong. The American poll taxes that were used as a precondition for voting were not called poll taxes because of the election polls. They were regular old poll taxes. You just had to be all paid up to be eligible to vote. Poll taxes were charged annually, but the only penalty for non-payment was being denied the right to vote. I think it is important to distinguish between what the poll tax was in fact in America and what the term "poll tax" has always and only meant (even in America). Srnec (talk) 14:39, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

It's possible, but we would need to gather additional sources and determine due weight for the different (or not different) definitions. Unfortunately, my OUP account is in the process of being renewed, so I can't do an overview of their encyclopedias at the moment as I would normally do. Eperoton (talk) 14:57, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
The New Oxford American Dictionary gives only one definition: a tax on every adult without reference to income or resources. The Oxford Dictionary of Economics gives "a lump-sum tax levied on every citizen at the same rate regardless of income or wealth" (and specifically denies that the Community Charge was a poll tax). The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States also does not define a poll tax in reference to election polls, although it seem somewhat confused to me. Srnec (talk) 21:12, 12 March 2017 (UTC)