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A tax on the sale or consumption of a product or commodity or a tax for a license. A tax that is not a poll tax or a property tax. Taxes not laid directly upon persons or property. Tax or duty on the manufacture, sale, or consumption of commodities.


In practice, the term excise tax has an expansive meaning. From the precedents of colonial days, we are supplied with illustrations of excises common in the colonies. They are said to have been bound up with the enjoyment of particular commodities. There were many excises in colonial days and later that were associated, more or less intimately, with the enjoyment or the use of property. This would not prove, even if no others were then known, that the forms then accepted were not subject to enlargement. Cf. Pensacola Telegraph Co. v. Western Union, 96 U. S. 1, 96 U. S. 9; In re Debs, 158 U. S. 564, 158 U. S. 591; South Carolina v. United States, 199 U. S. 437, 199 U. S. 448, 199 U. S. 449. But, in truth, other excises were known, and known since early times. Thus, in 1695 (6 & 7 Wm. ...

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