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Many common law countries inherited British income tax rules. Whether the inheritance was direct or indirect, the rationale and origins of some of the central rules seem almost lost in history. Commonly, they are simply explained as being of British origin without more, but even in Britain the origins of some of these rules are less than clear.
This book traces the roots of the income tax and its precursors in Britain and in its former colonies to 1820. Harris focuses on four issues that are central to common law income taxes and which are of particular current relevance: the capital/revenue distinction, the taxation of corporations, taxation on both a source and residence basis, and the schedular approach to taxation. He uses an historical perspective to make observations about the future direction of income tax in the modern world. Volume II will cover the period 1820 to 2000.