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:

8 October 2019 Peter Allen will be speaking on Death Taxes

Biographical details: 

Peter is an Assistant Professor of Accounting and Taxation at the University of Nottingham.  Previously, Peter worked in the tax policy field for 5 years, originally with the Tax Faculty of the ICAEW and afterwards the Office of Tax Simplification.  Peter is a member of the CIoT and an FCCA. He worked in tax practice during the 1980s and has worked in tax lecturing and tax technical fields since the 1990s.

Booking form: 

History of Tax - October 2019

Outline: Death Taxes

For many of us “death taxes” means inheritance tax and its evolutionary predecessor taxes of Capital Transfer Tax and Estate Duty.  Actually death taxes have a far longer history.  For most periods of our history death would result in a payment to the state.  

The tale of inheritance tax and its lineal predecessors is one of a centuries old battle of action and reaction between the Treasury and the taxpayer which continues to the present day.

Our guest speaker, WCoTA member Peter Allen, will be looking back as far as the Roman period via the Middle Ages and Magna Carta to the current era, to show that death taxes have a far longer and varied history than most people perceive.  Peter will discuss not only the developing nature of death taxes themselves but also the context in which societies in the times they were levied affected them, with specific reference to the tax’s conflicts with inheritances and landed estates.

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.

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”