Quit rent, quit-rent, or quitrent, in practically all cases, is now effectively but not formally a tax or land tax imposed on freehold or leased land by a higher landowning authority, usually a government or its assigns. Under feudal law, the payment of quit rent (Latin Quietus Redditus, pl. Redditus Quieti) freed the tenant of a holding from the obligation to perform such other services as were obligatory under feudal tenure, or freed the occupier of the land from the burden of having others use their own distinct rights that affected the land (e.g. hunting rights which would have hindered farming). Thus it was a payment for distinct rights that were connected with the full enjoyment of the land but not parcelled up in the ownership of the land. Formally it was a sort of buy-back rather than a tax. A tax can be varied by the taxer; and if not paid there are penalties that can be varied by the taxer without formal limit. In contrast the only sanction for not paying a feudal quit rent was that the alternative burdens would return. This imposed a ceiling on how much could be demanded in payment of a quit rent. Where the sanctions for non-compliance are limited in this way, a quit rent is a rent in form and name, and not a tax; where they are not so limited, a quit rent is a rent only in form and name, being rather a tax.
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