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The custom levied by the Romans upon imports and exports; it was introduced as early as the time of the kings, and was generally leased to publicani (q.v.). In 60 B.C. it was abolished for Italy, but was re-introduced by Caesar for foreign goods, and after that time always continued to exist. Free and allied cities were, in earlier times, allowed to levy the customs for their own territory, but from these Romans were to be exempt. Under the emperors customs were levied not only at the frontier of the Empire, but also at the frontiers of the several provinces or of combinations of provinces united in one excise-district. Besides this the percentage levied on the purchasing price of articles was different in different districts. The export of many articles was forbidden, especially of corn, oil, wine, salt, iron, and gold.
The Roman term originally denoting only the revenues flowing into the State chest from the State domains, and for the most part collected by contract. (See PUBLICANI.) The domains consisted of cultivated grounds, the rent of which was paid in money or kind; of pastures and meadows, for the use of which a payment (scriptura) was made; of forests, from which revenue was derived mainly by the letting of pitch huts; of lakes and rivers let for fishing; and of mines and salt-works. With a view to protecting the citizens from exorbitant prices, the sale of salt had already been made a State monopoly in the earliest years of the Republic, and it remained such till late into the times of the Empire. In letting salt mines the price of the salt was fixed in the contract, as was also the case with many articles produced from mines. The term vectigal also includes the rent paid for buildings, shops, booths and baths erected on public sites; the payment for the use of bridges and roads, of public water-ways, and sewers in cases where private properties drained into them; export and import tells (see PORTORIUM), as well as all other indirect taxes. Such was the tax which was introduced into Rome in 357 B.C., and under the emperors was levied throughout the whole empire, the vicesima libertatis or manumissionis; a tax of 5 per cent. paid on every manumitted slave, either by himself or his master. To these were added under Augustus the centesima rerum venalium, a tax of 1 per cent. on all articles sold at auctions; the quinta et vicesima mancipiorum, a tax of 4 per cent. on every slave sold; and the vicesima hereditatum et legatorum, a tax of 5 per cent. on all inheritances over 100,000 sesterces £875), and on all legacies not falling to the next of kin. This impost, with the increase of celibacy and the custom of leaving complimentary legacies to the whole circle of one's friends, proved exceedingly productive, and, though originally limited to Roman citizens, was, with the franchise, extended by Caracalla to all the inhabitants of the Empire, and at the same time raised to 10 per cent.
TAXES 9.31%
In Athens, as in the free states of Greece generally, the citizens were freed from every personal tax; only for their slaves they had to pay the triobolon, a yearly poll-tax of three obols (4d.) for each. On the other hand, among the residents who were not citizens, the metoeci (q.v.) paid a yearly protection tax of twelve drachmae (8s.) for each independent man, and six drachmoe for every woman who managed her own house, and the freedmen paid the triobolon in addition. Besides this, all tradesmen who were not citizens had to pay a trade tax. (For extraordinary taxes on property see EISPHORA; for the more or less costly public services undertaken by wealthy citizens, see LEITOURGIA.) As indirect taxes may be mentioned: (1) the tax of 1 per cent. on the selling price paid at the sale of a piece of land. (2) The market tax, which was paid, partly at the gates, partly at the place of sale, by strangers and metoeci for the wares offered for sale in retail dealing; different articles were charged at different rates. (3) The tax on imports and exports, which was 2 per cent. on all imported or exported goods without distinction of kind. The State did not levy its dues and taxes itself, but caused them to be let out to individuals or companies by special officials, called the Poletoe (q.v.). (See TELONAe.) As at Athens, so under the Roman Republic, there was no direct taxation for citizens, except the property tax raised in extraordinary cases. (See TRIBUTUM.) The Roman citizen paid indirect taxes in the harbour tax (see PORTORIUM), and the tax introduced after 357 B.C. on the manumission of slaves at the rate of 5 per cent. of the value of the slave set free (vicesima manumissionis). Both taxes were let by the State to publicani (q.v.). Rome did not receive from her allies in Italy either direct or indirect taxes, apart from the obligations as to supplying soldiers and ships imposed on them by the alliance. After the right of citizenship was granted to them in 89 B.C. they were placed on the same footing as the citizens with respect to indirect taxes. But the provinces had to pay all the more to Rome, partly by direct, partly by indirect taxation. Yet, especially with regard to the former, there was no similarity of treatment, but every province had its own form of taxation, which, as a rule, was assimilated to the system existing in it at the time of its conquest. Some provinces paid a fixed yearly sum (see STIPENDIUM), which was raised by communal districts through the chief towns of each district, while others paid a certain quota of the varying produce of the cultivated land in the province (see DECUMA), which was farmed out to publicani. The provinces felt indirect taxation chiefly through the harbour tax, and indeed every province seems to have formed a separate fiscal district. Under the Empire it was only the indirect taxes that were at first made higher for the citizens, as Augustus added to the taxes on harbours and manumission the centesima rerum venalium, 1 per cent. on the price of articles sold at auctions; the quinta et vicesima mancipiorum, or 4 per cent. on the price of every slave bought, and the vicesima hereditatum et legatorum, of 5 per cent. on all inheritances above 100,000 sesterces, which did not fall to the nearest blood-relations, and on all legacies. The freedom of the citizens from direct taxation continued unimpaired, and when Caracalla, in 212 A.D., had granted to all free subjects of the Empire the right of citizenship, Italy, at least, maintained its freedom from taxation, until Diocletian (in 284) removed the last distinctions between the inhabitants of Italy and of other parts of the Empire, and introduced into Italy the same taxation as obtained in the provinces. It had in course of time been reduced to a more uniform system, on the basis of a general census of the Empire. The chief tax was the land tax (tributum soli), the total sum of which was promulgated every year by the emperor for the whole Empire, and divided amongst the provinces according to the number of taxable units (iuga or capita) which each province was set down as containing in the periodically revised registers. Connected with this tax in money were contributions in kind to the imperial stores for the army and the officials, who had a claim to them. The male and female population of the country not possessing land paid after a certain age (20-25 years) a poll tax (tributum capitis), the amount of which was fixed by imperial ordinance, and for women was about half the sum imposed on men. Citizens resident in towns, and not possessing land, paid a tax partly on their property, partly, as far as they happened to be engaged in a trade, on their working capital and on the trade itself. The taxes apportioned to each town with its districts were raised by tax collectors (exactores), but the decuriones, or members of the municipal senates (see MUNICIPIUM), were responsible for the amount and had to advance it themselves.
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