History of taxes
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?
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.
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:
- When did taxes first come into existence?
- 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.
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