Taxation: A More Light Hearted Guide To Tax


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The T word comes to Dubai on June 1st – tax. It’s been an enjoyable ride, but the land of 0% tax is no more for businesses turning over more than AED 375,000 P/A.

But, Dubai entrepreneurs shouldn’t feel too hard done by. Taxes are, after all, one of the inevitabilities of life. And, with that said, the history of taxation goes back a long way, and has a rather colourful, quirky, and at some points utterly weird, heritage.

To soften the blow on the 9% corporate tax, we’ve compiled a collection of some of the weird and wonderful facts about tax. Take a look below:

We’ve Always Wanted To Know The Tax Man

While the ‘tax man’ is a phrase given to a governing body rather than an individual person, that wasn’t always the case. This is at the heart of the ‘integrity’ ritual the taxmen of Ancient Egypt were required to adhere to. 

Ancient Egyptians wanted to know when tax collectors were in town. But, rather than make them wear a special badge or a form of identification, they were required to shave their eyebrows for ‘integrity’ purposes. If a tax collector was caught taking bribes or stealing, their eyebrows were shaved off in disgrace. 

The English Loved A Tax

If you’re looking for the home of quirky taxes, England is your answer. From playing card to beard taxes, and so much more in between, the English taxman never missed an opportunity to create an extra bit of state revenue. Here’s just a small handful of their…interesting taxes. 

In the 17th century, a tax on hats was introduced to discourage their use. To that end, the more elaborate the hat was, the higher the tax. It was abolished in 1811 however, and now the citizens of England are free to wear whichever hat they want (even snapbacks).

If you thought the beginning of the 17th century was the genesis of crazy English taxes, think again! In the 15th century, a beard tax was introduced by King Henry VIII, who was known for his more sideward view of the world having already invented a religion to lawfully divorce his wife. The reason for the beard tax? To discourage the wearing of extravagant clothing. It was abolished in 1569, much to the delight of Hagrid from Harry Potter.

As for the playing card tax, well, everyone loves a deck of cards right? A tax on playing cards was simply an easy form of revenue generation for the government. 

Today, taxes on the sale of cigarettes and CO2 emissions make England more of a reasonable tax location.


Tax Trends Around The World

While governments spend millions of dollars every year chasing tax evaders, the same can’t be said for Denmark & Sweden.

Both countries have a higher tax rate than is considered typical, and Scandinavia as a region has a reputation for being more receptive towards taxation. 

In fact, tax evasion is so rare in Denmark, the nation’s government has started to accept digital IOUs from citizens as a form of payment. This is an almost utopian level of trust between state and citizen.

Swedish tax payers also have a greater element of control over where their taxation is spent, too. If the citizen wants to allocate a certain portion of their taxes to a specific charity or cause, this is made possible. 

If you’re looking for a pro-tax culture, you only need to look at Scandinavia to find it. 

Tax In Dubai

With taxation coming soon to Dubai, there are measures your business needs to take to ensure you’re up to date with the changes. However, there’s no need to feel too panicked by the situation – tax has been around for hundreds of years, and the system will soon be seamlessly embedded into the ways of working of businesses through the city. If you need professional assistance with adapting to the new taxation system, reach out to our team at 800 SETHUB (738482) Set Hub, or setup@SetHub.com.