BAYKO and Purchase Tax

Most countries on the planet have some sort of taxation on the value of things which are sold to the general public. Purchase Tax, in the United Kingdom, was just such a tax. Across the E.U. today, Value Added Tax, is levied equally on goods sold and services provided and so is distinct from, and, indeed, in the U.K., actually replaced, Purchase Tax from April 1st, 1973.
Historically there had been other flirtations with such taxes in the U.K., but world war two produced the Temporary Purchase Tax Act (1940) which introduced three different rates of Purchase Tax, toys being in the middle band. Cynic that I am, I couldn't resist emphasising the intended temporary nature of the tax. Of course, those with a yen for such things, will be well aware that Income Tax was introduced, as a temporary measure, by William Pitt the Younger in 1799. Ironically, these wartime tax descriptions are both “terminological inexactitudes”, to quote Winston Churchill.
The Purchase Tax rates, as applied to toys, wandered about all over the place during the remaining life of the product, as shown in the graph below. I have to thank HM Customs & Excise National Museum, which is based in the Albert Dock, Liverpool, for providing this information.
I find this somewhat confusing, as the various BAYKO sets and parts price lists don't point towards quite so much volatility. I suppose it is possible that some of the changes were actually quite small, so perhaps they were absorbed in the general pricing policy - particularly when they were downwards!!!

Purchase tax rates from 1940 to 1967

As an interesting aside, the figures above apply to both sets and spare parts. However, the BAYKO Manuals, when sold separately, were exempt from Purchase Tax, taking advantage of a long established piece of British social engineering under which books, newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, etc., were, and remain, tax free to avoid the political accusation of “taxing education”.
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Latest update - August 11, 2022
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