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When Were Taxes First Introduced

In almost every country of the world, every working person is required to pay a number of different taxes to the government. A tax is a compulsory contribution to state revenue. Taxes are applied to income and business profit and added to the cost of goods and services. The failure to pay tax is a criminal offense and is punishable by law. Generally the money generated from taxes is used to better the community by improving facilities and paying for government funded services. This was not always the case, as often throughout history we have seen ruling powers collect taxes for their own benefit. So when were the first taxes introduced? Read on to find out.

The introduction of Taxes
The first documented mention of taxes was in the first book of the Bible Genesis chapter 47, verse 25 when Joseph instructs the Hebrew people to give a fifth of their crops to pharaoh as a tax. This is supported by other documentations showing a taxation system in the Egyptian kingdom in 3000BC- 2800BC. Pharaoh would conduct an annual tour around the kingdom collecting the taxes from his people. Records of granary receipts have been found on papyrus and limestone.

The next taxation system to be documented was that of the Persian Empire in 500BC. The Persian Empire was divided into different Satrapy (sections) and each section was required to pay an annual tax according to what commodities it had. The area of Babylon for example would have to pay large amounts of silver and give four months supply of food for the empires army. In each satrapy there was a satrap (provisional governor) whose job it was to collect the required taxes and send it to the emperor. How the taxes were collected was left up to the discretion of the Satrap which of course led to a great deal of exploitation and bribery.

Taxes have continued to be the main way that governments generate revenue and are now based on a person’s income or business profit and any other taxes placed on goods and services.

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