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Taxation And Imposts

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Chapter Summary

Mediaeval public finances lacked most modern appurtenances. There was no budget and no serious economic planning, no income tax and real accounting, but there were revenues and expenditure, direct and indirect taxes and the wherewithal to run town and country, in peacetime and in war. There existed in Sicily a number of direct taxes, all of which were not regularly levied. Some of their returns have survived. The oldest direct tax levied on Jews was the gisia, dating back to Arab times, and the augustale, going back to pre-Aragonese times. The other major direct tax imposed on the Jews of Sicily was the hearth tax, called by a variety of names. The imposition was irregular and relatively rare. The Christians argued that the Jews did not pay communal indirect taxes, and hence must not benefit from the use made of the revenues a debatable claim.

Keywords: augustale; Christians; direct taxes; gisia; income tax; indirect taxes; Jews



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