This contribution analyses the change in the conception of taxation which occurred in Italy during the aftermath of World War II. From being a neutral mechanism to collect state revenue, in this period taxation became seen as a powerful political tool to redistribute income and wealth. The article primarily relies on material collected by the Economic Commission of the Ministry for the Constituent Assembly set up in 1945, a unique source which offers a comprehensive overview of the different conceptions of taxation at the time. Drawing upon their different economic and political ideologies, liberal economists and entrepreneurs, Christian Democrats, and Communists formulated alternative tax programmes. While liberal economists and entrepreneurs advocated the maintenance of the existing tax system on technical grounds, the Christian Democrats imposed a new conception of taxation as a means for income redistribution. Progressive and redistributive taxation was also present in the Communist programme, but their ambiguous tax views suffered from the lack of administrative and economic experience which liberal and Catholic economists had instead gathered before and partially even during the Fascist regime. The debate ended abruptly in 1947 with the exclusion of the left from government and the success of liberal conceptions. Nonetheless, during the 1960s, the Catholic emphasis on progressive and redistributive taxation incorporated the new Keynesian ideas on public finance and achieved a hegemonic position in the public debate, thus overcoming the traditional liberal view.