History of Tax Events

It is a traditional function of livery companies to maintain historical records of the livery and to foster interest in the history of their associated trades. The Worshipful Company of Tax Advisers has only a short history since its formation as a guild in 1995 (see link) but the imposition of taxes, in many diverse forms, goes back for millennia. Many members of the Company have a longstanding interest in the history of taxation, a rather neglected area for academic research, and in 2008 the Company formed a History of Tax Group. The profession of tax adviser is also a fairly young one and the Group's interests include the development of the profession and the history of tax administration.
The first meeting was held in February 2009 when the late John Jeffrey-Cook gave a talk on “The Remarkable William Pitt and his Taxes”, which formed the basis of an article published in the British Tax Review in 2010. Since then the group has met twice a year in February and October. These meetings are open to all with an interest in the history of taxation and are held in the early evening, and sometimes followed by lively discussion over supper in a nearby restaurant. Attendees at these meetings include a cross-section of company members, together with spouses and guests, students and professors of the history of tax, current and former members of HM Revenue and Customs, and members of the tax judiciary.

Meetings are open to all, Company members and non-members alike, but places must be booked in advance (Booking Form link below). If you would like to attend future meetings of the group please e-mail adminwcta@ciot.org.uk to be included on email circulation. 

Forthcoming meetings:

27 October 2020:

Don Korb will be speaking on American tax history in an online meeting.

Biographical details:

Don Korb, former Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service, will be our next speaker. While Chief Counsel, Don became well known in the UK as a speaker at HMRC public meetings and other events and he played a vital role in bringing together US and UK tax administrators and practitioners.  Subsequently he practiced at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and continued to speak at international events such as the Congress of the International Fiscal Association.

Booking form:

To follow


Don Korb will present a history of US taxes from 1861 to the current day (and beyond).  

Don will describe some of the key steps in the development of US taxes from the earliest days until recent tax reform, including a fascinating look at the era of tax shelters and the role he played in the IRS approach to challenging them. Questions and discussion will be very welcome and there will be an opportunity to speculate about the possibilities for US tax policy after the election in November and as the world recovers from the economic effects of Covid-19.

Past meetings:

The material included in this section has been written by the authors from the presentations given by them to members and guests of the History of Tax Group of the Worshipful Company of Tax Advisers and is reproduced for educational purposes with the permission of the authors and where applicable by agreement from the publishers. All rights reserved.

June 2020            Professor Penelope Tuck, Dr Dominic de Cogan & Dr John Snape on A Tale of the Merger of the Inland Revenue and HM Customs & Excise https://www.presenta.co.uk/History_of_Tax/240620/live-meeting.html

February 2020      Professor Michael Braddick on the Case of Ship-Money (R v Hampden) (1637): Prerogatival Discretion in Emergency Conditions;and Professor Martin Daunton on Thomas Gibson Bowles v Bank of England (1913): A Modern John Hampden?, both cases from the book "Landmark Cases in Revenue Law"; report by Caroline Turnbull-Hall

October 2019        Peter Allen: "Death Taxes - a UK History" 

February 2019       Gottfried Schellmann: "Taxes in the Austrian Hungarian Empire"; report by David Williams

October 2018        Professor Caroline Barron: "Taxation in the medieval City of London (1066 - 1500)"
February 2018       Martin Daunton: "The Politics of Land Taxation in the British Empire" - Click here to view slides
October 2017        Helen Thornley: "The Women’s Tax Resistance League 1909-1918"
February 2017       Matthew Peppitt: "Taxing the ultimate luxury – Plate duty: the taxation of the goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ trade 1719 – 1890"
October 2016        Peter Allen: "National Insurance: Tax or Welfare State?"
February 2016       Professor Sir John H Baker:  "The Curious Case of Mr Trull"
October 2015        Professor Chantal Stebbings: "Tax and Quacks: the Medicine Stamp Duty 1783 - 1941"
February 2015       Professor Martin Daunton: "Creating a new fiscal constitution in post-war Japan"
October 2014        Peter Fawcett:  "Taxation in Classical Athens"
February 2014       Professor Julian Hoppit, FBA"Scotland and the British Fiscal State, 1707 - 1800"
October 2013        Dr John Avery Jones CBE: "Seven Appeals and an Acquittal: the Singer Family and Their Tax Cases" 
March 2013          
John Pearce: "Rewriting Income Tax Law 1907-56"
October 2012        David Williams: "Surveying Taxes in the Great War 1914-1918"
February 2012       Prof. Jane Frecknall Hughes"The History of the Tax Profession"
October 2011        John Pearce: "The Road to PAYE"
February 2011       Prof. Chantal Stebbings: "Victorian Asylums: the Tax Factor” 
September 2010    John Brown CBE: “Paul de Voil’s VAT decisions”
September 2010    Prof.David Southern: Inflation,Taxation & Revaluation:Germany 1920-1930”                      
February 2010       Prof. Jane Frecknall Hughes: “Magna Carta Revisited”
September 2009    Dr John Avery Jones CBE: “Finding historical tax material in the ‘PRO’”
September 2009    Richard Thomas: “Sir Sidney and Sir John: the Rowlatts and Tax"
February 2009       John Jeffrey-Cook: The Remarkable William Pitt and his Taxes”