Race and Tax Policy: The Case of the Chinese Poll Tax

Yong, S
Vosslamber, R
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Journal Article
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The Journal of Australian Taxation (JAT)

The Chinese poll tax was introduced in English-speaking countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, during the nineteenth century. Though this tax was justified on social and economic grounds, it is largely a race-based tax as it was targeted at Chinese immigrants. This article provides a historical analysis of the New Zealand and Californian (American) poll tax. It also evaluates the relationship between the poll tax and immigration. Given the widespread Chinese poll tax in these countries, this evaluation has international significance, and demonstrates the central role of taxes in the formation and maintenance of civic identity. It also has contemporary implications given the extensive number of racially diverse immigrants, including the Chinese, who have migrated and are migrating to Western developed nations.

Journal of Australian Taxation, Vol. 20 (1), Article 6.
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