What is a Beard Tax

What is a Beard tax?

No one likes to pay taxes and it seems like everywhere you turn in this day and age there is a tax for something obscure.  But have you ever heard of a beard tax?

It’s was a real thing.

Back in approximately 1698 Emperor Peter the Great introduced a yearly charge for men who wanted to have facial hair.  The amount it would cost you to have a beard varies just like the amount of tax we as United State citizens have to pay based on income earned.  

For peasants or low income earners it was a few kopecks (a kopeck is to the ruble what US pennies are to the dollar)

For noble or military figures it would cost you a minimum of 100 rubles (or more). Which if you exchange the value of the dollar now to the ruble then was roughly 100 rubles = $7,668.00 today

The reason he did this was to control the Russian culture. In addition to his control of your facial hair he would also dictate what type of overcoats you would need to wear.

And he was serious about his rules, he would have inspectors stroll the streets and if they found you with a non-approved overcoat or without a facial hair token

A beard token, received for paying the Russian beard tax via Wikimedia Commons
A beard token, received for paying the Russian beard tax via Wikimedia Commons

they would cut the coat or your beard on the spot.  He even went as far as throwing a party one time and hired jesters to roam the party goers and they would hit you upside the head, and even go as far as ripping the hair right off your face.

Peter the Great cutting a Boyar's beard Getty
Beard Tax cutting Getty

This tax lasted for 74 years before Catherine the Great repealed the beard tax.

There are other legends you can read about that claim of a beard tax, but none as well documented or frankly seem as brutal and enforced as Emperor Peter the Greats.

Luckily in this day and age in the United States there is no tax on beards and we have the freedom to grow or not grow a beard. But if you do grow a beard make sure you take proper care of it by using all natural based ingredient beard care products like the ones found here https://affectbeard.com/shop/

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