Protester during the violence in London

The Community Charge, more popularly known as the "poll tax", was a tax introduced to fund local government in the UK in the late 1980s. It provided for a single flat-rate per-capita tax on every working adult, at a rate set by the local authority, for example a Billionaire living alone in a mansion would be eligible to pay less poll tax than a whole family living in a small flat. As a result, this increases the power of the wealthy, at the detriment of the masses.


There was mass non payment of the tax around Britain and even a member of parliament was sent to prison for not paying. In 1990 a protest on the poll tax broke out into mass violence in London[1][2]. The tax was one of the main reasons for the downfall of Margaret Thatcher because the tax was so intensely unpopular. It and was abolished within a few years, in favour of the Council tax, which was a compromise between the Poll tax and the "rates" which the poll tax had replaced, as people with larger houses pay a bit more, but Council tax isn't in proportion to the value of properties and it gives a 25% discount to single occupants, so it is something of a compromise between the Poll tax idea of everyone paying the same and the rates idea of paying a tax linked to the value of your home.

In the United States

In the United States, Poll taxes (Head Taxes) were often imposed as a prerequisite to voting, and were used to limit the political impact of poor Americans.