The Simplified Wealth of Nations of Adam Smith, Book 5, Chapter 2k, Article 4: General Taxes -- Capitation Taxes

Chapter 2, Article 4: General Taxes -- Capitation Taxes

Article 4: Taxes which should fall indifferently on every Species of Revenue
138 The taxes which should fall indifferently on every different species of revenue, are:
Capitation Taxes
139 Capitation taxes* become arbitrary if it is proportioned to the fortune or revenue of each taxpayer. * [A tax levied on a person without any reference to his property or his business or employment]   140 Capitation taxes become unequal if they are proportioned to the rank of each taxpayer.   141 If such taxes are attempted to be rendered equal, they become arbitrary and uncertain.   142 In England's poll-taxes during William III's reign, most of the taxpayers were assessed according to their rank as dukes, marquisses, earls, viscounts, etc.   143 In France, a capitation tax was levied uninterrupted since the start of the 18th century.   144 In England, the poll-taxes never produced the expected sum. 145 Capitation taxes levied on the lower ranks of people are direct taxes on wages.   146 Capitation taxes are levied at little cost.  

Next: Chapter 2l: Sales Taxes