This section of the book is from the "Introduction To Public Finance" book, by Carl Copping Plehn.
Local taxation in England has been partly independent of royal taxation. England has not followed the continental plan of collecting revenues for local purposes in the form of additions to the national taxes. While the weight of national taxation fell upon customs duties, excises, and certain direct taxes, measured roughly by income, local taxation was based exclusively upon revenues from real estate. The prototype of all local taxation was the poor rate. Previous to the reign of Elizabeth local activities were of such a character that they could be discharged from feudal dues. In the manorial villages and the boroughs with semi-feudal guild, and close corporation governments, which owned landed property, feudal incomes paid the few public expenses. But the removal of the monasteries, hospitals, and other charitable foundations, threw upon public charity a number of well-developed paupers ; and the rapidly changing character of industry and of economic life constantly gave rise to the problem of what to do with the unemployed, who at times became very numerous. The result was the famous poor law of 1601. The principle of the tax for the support of the poor had been of slow growth. In the reign of Henry VIII. the giving of alms was prohibited, and collections for the impotent poor of the parish were required to be made in each church. In 1547 the Bishops were authorised to prosecute all persons who refused to contribute for this purpose, or should dissuade others from contributing. In the fifth year of Elizabeth the Justices of Peace were made judges of what constituted a reasonable contribution for this purpose. After 1572 regular compulsory contributions were levied. Out of a purely voluntary contribution then, there emerged in two-thirds of a century a compulsory tax. The basis of this tax was the annual rental value of real property. The tax was collected not from the owner but from the occupier. Most of the other taxes for local purposes which have developed in England since then are of the same general character. They are too numerous to mention here. Besides the direct taxes, there were a few indirect ones, market dues, road tolls, coal and wine duties.