History of taxes

What is tax

Tax is a mandatory payment made to government. It can be levied upon things such as income, property, and sales. The income generated from taxes is used to support the government and the programs and services it provides.

Activity 1 –  Define taxes

Pose the question: What is tax?
The class works together to compile a definition.
Post the class definition.  

Activity 2 – Think about taxes

Ask students to think of a time when they heard someone talking about taxes.

Guide a student discussion with questions such as:

  • What did the person say about taxes?
  • How did they feel about it, and how do you know?
  • Why do people pay taxes?

History of taxes in Canada

Canada’s tax system has evolved over many years to accommodate the needs of an increasingly complex society. The tax system needs to benefit all Canadians and should be flexible so the government can use it to achieve specific social and economic objectives.

Activity 3 – Where tax laws come from in Canada

Divide the class into small groups and assign each group a section from worksheet 1, Canada's tax system worksheet.

    Section 1 – Tax legislation
    Section 2 – Tax administration

Students read and discuss the information in a think-pair-share, then plan and give a presentation to the class.

Activity 4 – Milestones in Canadian taxation

Assign each student one of the fact strips from worksheet 2, Milestones in Canadian taxation. Students share the facts from the strips (in numerical order) to give the class a brief overview of the history of taxation in Canada.

History of taxes in the world

Since the beginning of recorded history, a tax system of some kind has always existed in organized societies and governments. Over 3,500 years ago, the ancient Egyptians collected taxes and the Roman Empire had a highly evolved tax system.

The French and Romans of the 13th century were credited with the first use of a word similar to tax. The French had taxer and the Latin used taxare to describe the acts: to estimate, to assess, or to touch repeatedly.

Set the context

Pose these questions:

  1. When did taxes first come into existence?
  2. Why were taxes introduced?
Activity 5 – Tax trivia

Assign each pair of students one segment from worksheet 3, Tax trivia. They read it and choose part of it to present to the class in a visual presentation such as a captioned cartoon or poster.

Consolidation of learning

Post the visual presentations along with the tax trivia. Students visit the display and add comments or questions to any of the posted information. Students do a gallery walk to learn about some interesting forms of taxation from around the world.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: