One-off wealth taxes and recurring wealth taxes share many of the same properties, and face many of the same challenges. However, there are also important differences in how they operate, when viewed from the perspective of economic theory, tax administration, politics and ethics. In this paper, I survey the distinctive features of ‘one-off’ wealth taxes and consider how they have operated in practice for countries that have implemented them. Over the past century, several countries have introduced one-off capital levies, with varying degrees of success. I examine two examples from the post-Second World War era, as well as three instances of more limited one-off wealth taxes implemented over the last decade.