November 29, 2009
A History of Taxation Practices, Section 6: Taxes and The End of Romans
W. Marc Gilfillan, CPA, NC, individual and business CPA and Tax expert, shares about the history of taxes…
Mithridates the Great was the leader of a small country near what is currently known as Turkey. He had an extraordinary ability to create rebellion among unhappy taxpayers. In 88 BC he organized a civil war fighting Roman rule. By granting five years of tax exemption to each city that followed his army, he mustered substantial support.
The Roman Senate sprang into action and appointed General Sulla to muster an army and restore Roman authority in the east. Sulla succeeded in squelching the rebellion after a four year war. When the rebellion was squashed, Sulla told the leaders of the disgruntled cities to meet him at Ephesus. At that place the citizens were to remit five years of back taxes and pay Sulla for the cost of the war.
To make sure the tax was collected, Sulla created “special agents.” These special agents were given the ability to scourge and kill, which was plenty to cause any taxpayer cooperative. Up until this period there had been self-assessment tax collections, private tax collection, military tax collection and the traditional government tax collectors. However, these newly instituted “special agents” were very skillful specialized men with the ignorance of bureaucrats and the power of military executioners. Taxpayers lost any hope to evade. If you are feeling the pressure with today’s taxes, call a Tax Preparer in Raleigh, NC for all your tax-related needs!
Special Agents have been instituted several times in the past, persisting into the modern age as “financial police” or just “special agents”, given the title initially instituted by Sulla over 2000 years ago. As the practice of Sulla’s special agents was put in to place in neighboring nations, soldiers came to realize that the rich spoils of war came from their commander, not the Roman Senate. Roman generals came back to Rome with the unwavering loyalty of their soldiers. Great civil wars started as rival legions slaughtered each other. With these moderately private armies, establishment of a military dictator was inescapable. So, the Roman Republic dissolved. Kings, dictators, and generals would now run the Roman Empire for the next 2000 years. Democratically designed governments and republics would not play a dominant role in civilization again until the 1800s. Go here if you want help with modern-day Tax Preparation in Cary, NC.
Keep an eye out for W. Marc Gilfillan’s next chapter in his History of Taxes series: Taxes and the American Revolution.