About the 1821 Land Tax Act

The 1821 Land Tax Act

On 19 March 1821 a Bill appointing land tax commissioners received its first reading in the House of Commons and MPs began to nominate people who might do the job.

The 1821 Land Tax Act

The Bill passed through both the Commons and the Lords and received its Royal Assent on 2 July 1821, thereby becoming an Act of Parliament.

The longest Bill

It was the longest Bill that Parliament had ever drawn up, and was made of 757 membranes of sheep skin. A rough calculation suggests that it contains approximately 65,000 commissioners' names. This was an unprecedented figure, although numbers of commissioners had been increasing steadily since at least the mid-eighteenth century.

One reason for this was that the collection of the tax was becoming more complicated. But it was also the case that an enquiry into the land tax had started just as the Bill had begun its passage through Parliament, and there may have been a desire to maximise the revenue raised by the tax.

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