3000 BC: The First Taxes

If you work in the US, or are an American citizen abroad, your income tax returns are due in less than two weeks. Everyone hates tax season, because even if you are getting a refund, the forms are a hassle and you’re always worried about getting it wrong. So who do we blame for taxes? It was the ancient Egyptians, beginning around 5000 years ago.

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The early Egyptians were the first to have an administrative government, too, which is why taxes were needed. The government would provide services for its citizens, which the people would pay for with a portion of their “income” which was usually in the form of crops, but also involved time and labor. Sure, a lot of those taxes went to support the lavish lifestyles of the rulers, but it also went into supporting an army, which benefitted citizens by providing security in wartime. Taxes were used to build royal monuments and temples, but also public buildings. The same can be said in the modern era, since taxes can be used for expenses you don’t agree with, but they also fund roads, schools, and other things we all benefit from. The ancient Egyptians also pioneered cheating on taxes and tax protests. Read how the tax system got its start at Smithsonian.

(Image source: Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Source: neatorama

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