Taxes Cont’d – It’s a Real World Thing

Last time we explored why you should get excited about taxes. Because you want to be an accountant! Really though, it’s another way to craft and build your world and ask all those questions of “why are things the way they are?” The real world is a great place to steal ideas so let’s take a look at that! We played in China last time, and continuing the vein of ancient civilizations: Ancient Egypt and it’s original Pharaoh system. Back in those days, there wasn’t even a concept like currency; instead people traded in goods, and, in most cases, back then food was money. Literally! The Pharaoh directly oversaw a number of farmers whose yearly harvest was taxes (the dreaded harvest tax).

Gotta...hide...that...furniture!
Gotta…hide…that…furniture!

This grew out of a system where a main leader controlled the farmland. But as the number of citizens grew, so did the administrative burden, to the point where nobles controlled other farmland and these estates instead paid an income tax (a harvest tax). As the wealthy grew more powerful and farmland more numerous, it became increasingly difficult to assess farmland properly and so there came to be a new tax levied on people; the wealth tax. It was easy to march inspectors into an estate and evaluate its holding and then tax based on someone’s wealth; because who knew what their income might have been? But the finer points, like hiding your wealth, became common and so you can imagine a setting there might have these little tidbits crop up (someone may purchase very fanciful furniture and then have storage spaces to hide it during tax time).

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