I’m reading The Elements of Investing by Burton Malkiel and Charles Ellis and stumbled upon some delightful examples of how people have arranged their affairs to avoid taxes in the past.
“Centuries ago, when the Papal State dominated Tuscany, these rulers imposed an extremely high tax on salt. As a form of protest, Tuscan bakers began to make their bread without salt.
Gradually, the taste for bread made entirely without salt became widespread, and to this day, Tuscan bread is salt less”.
Narrow Houses of Amsterdam
“The narrowest house in Amsterdam is approximately 180cm wide, which is actually less than the height of the average Dutch person. Historically, property in Amsterdam was taxed based on the width, which is why many houses are so narrow and deep”.
“Property taxes were often levied on the number of rooms in a house, and therefore, rooms on the second and third floor were considered just as ratable as those on the ground floor. But if a mansard roof was constructed on the third floor, those rooms were considered to be part of an attic and not taxed”.
Nile Guide to Amsterdam.
The Elements of Investing by Burton Malkiel and Charles Ellis. Here’s a graphic of a Mansard Roof.