c.1300, "impose a tax on," from Old French taxer "impose a tax" (13c.), from Latin taxare "evaluate, estimate, assess, handle," also "censure, charge," probably a frequentative form of tangere "to touch" (see tangent). Sense of "burden, put a strain on" first recorded 1670s; that of "censure, reprove" is from 1560s. Its use in Luke ii for Greek apographein "to enter on a list, enroll" is due to Tyndale. Related: Taxed; taxing.
early 14c., "obligatory contribution levied by a sovereign or government," from Anglo-French tax, Old French taxe, and directly from Medieval Latin taxa, from Latin taxare (see tax (v.)). Related: taxes. Tax shelter is attested from 1961.