It is intended to do no more than simply indicate some of the uses of excise taxes in countries other than the United States. As might be expected, because of their indirect nature they very early held prominent places in fiscal systems. England resorted to their use as early as the seventeenth century and gradually extended the system until it included such articles as salt, glass, leather, liquors, and many other commodities. Marked extension was made of these duties to supply war funds, and after the passing of the emergency they were usually reduced to something like the former level.

As the country developed and the fiscal machinery became better organized, the multiplicity of the duties lost popularity, and from the first quarter to the middle of the nineteenth century many commodities which had long been burdened by taxes were relieved. Among these were glass, brick, tile, leather, and soap. The removal of many of these duties had a stimulating effect upon industry. The duties, however, have been retained on the various kinds of alcoholic liquors, the brewing and distilling of which are kept under close government supervision. Licenses are also charged for the sale of these liquors. The results of an excise on tobacco have been accomplished through the restriction of its growth in England, and taxing it through the use of the customs duty.

Excise Tax in France. - The most extensive use of excise taxes has been found in France. They were developed here much earlier than in England and have always occupied a place of more or less importance in French fiscal history. They have been far from satisfactory at times, and have been often in ill repute among the citizens because of bad administration and discriminations. Their importance to the fiscal system has varied at different times, but because of the nature of the government they have been used more extensively than in most countries. This is the situation at present. A large number of commodities are taxed, and various methods are used in making the levy. A common method is to levy the tax upon goods as they pass from one political division to another. Luxuries and semiluxuries have formed the bases for the most of the taxes.

Use in Other Countries. - Italy has also made extensive use of excise taxes, but is distinguished from the other countries in that articles of necessary consumption have always been made to contribute heavily. Germany, also, has long used this form of taxes, though its prominence has not been so marked as in some of the other European states. Some of the effects have been offset by the use of bounties, while some articles which were capable of producing much revenue, such as beer, have been lightly taxed. In practically every country the use of this form of tax occupies a place of some degree of importance. In nearly every case, moreover, this degree of importance has been greatly increased since the advent of the Great War, and it is doubtful whether it will ever recede to its former level. The articles which are most universally used as the bases upon which to levy excise taxes are liquors, tobacco, salt, and sugar.