The window tax provides a dramatic and transparent historical example of the potential distorting effects of taxation. Imposed in England in 1696, the tax—a kind of predecessor of the modern property tax—was levied on dwellings with the tax liability based on the number of windows. The tax led to efforts to reduce tax bills through such measures as the boarding up of windows and the construction of houses with very few windows.
The Window Tax: A Case Study in Excess BurdenWallace Oates and Robert Schwab ,
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Journal of Economic Perspectives