1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cess

CESS (a shortened form of “assess”; the spelling is due to a mistaken connexion with “census”), a tax; a term formerly more particularly applied to local taxation, in which sense it still is used in Ireland; otherwise it has been superseded by “rate.” In India it is applied, with the qualifying word prefixed, to any taxation, such as “irrigation-cess” and the like, and in Scotland to the land-tax.