January 9 - 1799 - The First Income Tax in Britain is Introduced
An income tax is a defining feature of modern government policy and economics. Yet it is, by necessity, a modern invention, as it requires most people to have a consistent income and a government that can track incomes and taxation. It also had to be brought about by someone with a willingness to change the way taxation works and in a situation that needed more govermental revenue. Thus, it is perfectly sensible that a Prime Minister as forward looking and efficient as William Pitt the Younger would introduce the first modern income tax during the French Revolutionary Wars. Pitt's successor, Henry Addington, would end the war and repeal the tax, but have to reintroduce the income tax when war returned. From that point on, income tax was always an option, and would become a feature of the British government (and most other governments) within one hundred years.