From: Michael O'Brien (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri 01 Nov 1996 - 17:48:00 EET
>volume 3 number 257 went missing because somebody filled up the users
>disk last night. please resend whatever you wrote if it appears to
>have been in the missing digest.
Here's my second attempt to post this, following the Great Disappearing Digest
Neil Smith asks:
>The continuing discussion on the taxation policy in the Lunar Empire
>has persuaded me to introduce it into my campaign. But what is a
>reasonable tax rate? What levy would the Lunars impose on a typical
>Praxian clan living in Prax?
In my opinion, the Lunars have not yet devised a satisfactory way to tax
the Praxian nomads. While it is relatively easy to tax a static, agrarian
society like the farmers in the Cradle valley, there are practical
difficulties even keeping track of the tribes let alone taxing them. Young
Jaxarte Whyded (who last appeared in Tales #8) had the unenviable
job of completing a census of Prax and its inhabitants, and I'm sure the
data was forwarded to the relevant tax authorities.
>Of course, those clans that have not sworn allegiance to the Lunar
>Way will be taxed more heavily (double?), and contributions to the
>Seven Mothers are tax-deductable!
The Lunars might have 'conquered' Prax but, lacking the resources to
control the tribes and hold them under their sway, the situation is more
one of sullen neutrality. In such a context, imposing a tax rate over a
whole tribe and enforcing its collection would be virtually impossible.
Unless the tax collectors arrive with a small army, the nomads are
likely to either send 'em packing missing bodily appendages, or
simply up and leave before they arrive.
Where taxation is likely to take place then, is at points of contact
between nomads and the outside world: a 'head tax' to enter and leave
market towns, a duty payable on goods brought in and out, and so on.
In Pavis, the nomads have got round this by setting up shop in Badside
across the river; I'm sure this tax avoidance problem will be dealt
with by the authorities when resources permit. The only thing that
the nomads are said to lack for their way of life is salt, so no doubt
the price of this precious commodity is artificially high, most of it
government duty. Even if they say they can live without it, in the
intertribal arms race that is Life In Prax most nomads also desire metal
equipment, armour and weapons: so there is likely to be a premium on
this sort of stuff too when sold to the nomads. There are probably
fees to use river crossings, 'green' fees for grazing in certain
areas, and so on, in places where both the Lunars are strong enough
to enforce it and the nomads are keen to go (eg. certain approaches
to the Paps). Of course, Lunar converts receive substantial
discounts or even all-out exemptions, which is one of the reasons why
the Sable Tribe are looking so smug at present.
>In an attempt to answer my own question, if we assume the "standard"
>tax rate is 10% of income, the average Praxian ends up paying about
>60L per year, or about one food animal. Does that sound reasonable?
To Ivex Devouring Dog and his bloodsucking minions at the Office of
the Tax Demons, I'm sure it does. However, whether it sounds
reasonable or not, the issue is how do you collect it, and (if this is a
concern) how do you make sure everyone pays fairly? Maybe the Tax
Demons consider this to be the collector's (ie. Sor Eel's) problem
and have set this arbitrary rate any way - it's up to hapless governor to
forward the requisite amount, and his problem to work out whatever
means he gets it.
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