Skip to content
× FreshBooks App Logo
FreshBooks
Official App
Free - Google Play
Get it
You're currently on our US site. Select your regional site here:

Types of Taxes

  1. Proxy Tax
  2. Franchise Tax
  3. Cascade Tax
  4. Consumption Tax
  5. Tax Fairness
  6. Use Tax
  7. Capital Tax
  8. Taxation Without Representation
  9. Pigouvian Tax
  10. Indirect Tax
  11. Sin Tax
  12. Tax Incidence
  13. Surcharge
  14. Local Tax

Save Time Billing and Get Paid 2x Faster With FreshBooks

Try It Free ➝

Taxation Without Representation: Definition & Example

Updated: November 25, 2022

In today’s day and age, citizens have the opportunity to vote for elected officials. This can be at the local or state level. And for the federal government. Voters vote for those that are going to have their best interest in mind. They want to elect someone to make policies and create new laws.

In essence, this means that you get to have a say against illegal taxation. Taxation without representation is the complete opposite. You don’t get to provide your input for government policies and this used to be a normal practice. So what happened and why did taxation without representation happen?

We wrote this article to highlight what taxation without representation is. We’ll cover how it works, and the criticisms that surround it. Keep reading to learn more!

List IconTable of Contents


    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    • Taxation without representation is said to be one of the first catch phrases said by American colonists living under British rule and government. 
    • The reason for the objection was that American colonists didn’t have a say in the policies or rules that were being created and implemented. This was a type of taxation that ranged from estate taxes to yearly taxes. 
    • Citizens that live in the District of Columbia live in a state of taxation without representation. They have voiced concerns over unfair taxation.

    What Is Taxation Without Representation?

    Taxation without representation refers to a situation where the public must pay taxes to a government authority. But they do this without having any influence or say on the specific policies outlined by the government. 

    “Taxation without representation is tyranny.” This was the catchphrase used by American colonists to protest the British government, and it is where the phrase first appeared. It was their objection to taxation when taxation without representation appeared.

    Turn Tax Pains Into Tax Gains

    How Taxation Without Representation Works 

    There was a lack of representation in the legislative body that approved the levy and denial of rights to a jury trial. So colonists believed the tax being implemented was unconstitutional. The Stamp Act Congress was established in New York in October 1765 by representatives from nine of the thirteen colonies. It was also known as the Continental Congress of 1756.

    The “Declaration of the Rights and Grievances of the Colonists,” outlined delegates’ shared viewpoints with other colonists. And it was subsequently adopted. Resolutions three, four, and five expressed the delegates’ opposition to taxation without representation. There was also a large emphasis on their allegiance to the monarch. 

    Taxation Without Representation in Modern Times 

    After the American colonies broke away from Britain, taxation without representation still existed. Puerto Ricans, for instance, are citizens of the United States. But, they are unable to cast ballots in presidential elections and have no voting representatives in the U.S. Congress. 

    It’s worth noting that this can change if they move to one of the 50 states. In 2000, the District of Columbia started to print “taxation without representation” on license plates. 

    The tagline was added to draw attention. This was due to the fact that residents paid federal taxes while not having any voting representation in Congress. The District’s City Council amended the term by adding a word in 2017. This turned into “End Taxation Without Representation” as the new slogan. 

    It's Time For Owners To Own Tax Season

    Example of Taxation Without Representation 

    In the current era we live in, the District of Columbia serves as an example of taxation without representation. The District of Columbia won’t have representation in Congress. This was agreed upon by the country’s founding fathers to preserve the district’s impartiality. 

    However, Congress is still able to levy taxes on citizens of Washington, D.C. In the decision of Loughborough v. Blake in 1820, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld this privilege. The district’s residents have voiced their opposition to taxes. They have even gone so far as to design official license plates that read “Taxation Without Representation.”

    Summary

    Taxation without representation refers to a situation where citizens are required to pay taxes to a government. However, the issue is that the citizens don’t have any say in how those taxes or policies are developed. 

    The term comes from American colonials disagreeing with British rulers and their policies. In today’s day and age, the District of Columbia is an example of taxation without representation.

    Less Taxin'. More Relaxin'

    FAQs About Taxation Without Representation

    What Is the History of Taxation Without Representation in the United States?

    Taxation without representation began when American colonists weren’t happy with British rulers. This was because they instigated different taxes and policies without being able to provide input.

    How Is the Phrase “Taxation Without Representation” Used Today?

    Today, the phrase taxation without representation is used throughout the District of Columbia. However, they have since added an extra word to the slogan. Now, it states “end taxation without representation”.

    Is Taxation Without Representation Illegal?

    There aren’t any laws today that prohibit taxation without representation.

    WHY BUSINESS OWNERS LOVE FRESHBOOKS

    553 HRS

    SAVE UP TO 553 HOURS EACH YEAR BY USING FRESHBOOKS

    $ 7000

    SAVE UP TO $7000 IN BILLABLE HOURS EVERY YEAR

    30M+

    OVER 30 MILLION PEOPLE HAVE USED FRESHBOOKS WORLDWIDE

    Try It Free for 30 Days. No credit card required. Cancel anytime.