Happy Tax Day

donkey_with_heavy_load.svg.medIf you’re an American, you pay your federal income tax next week, or at least apply for an extension. (You did remember, didn’t you?)

Some Americans pay a high tax rate – we call it a heavy tax. But it’s not as heavy as a real estate tax in ancient Egypt. “A recently translated ancient Egyptian tax receipt [date corresponds to July 22, 98 B.C.] shows a bill that is (literally) heavier than any American taxpayer will pay this year — more than 220 lbs. (100 kilograms) of coins… ‘It’s an incredibly large sum of money,’ said Brice Jones… who translated the text. ‘These Egyptians were most likely very wealthy.'” Their tax bill was about thirty times a contemporary laborer’s annual salary.

The tax bill included an extra charge levied because the payment was made in bronze rather than silver coins, so the number and weight of coins was heavier. The pharaoh’s tax collectors had to “absorb the cost of transport and handling. In cases where [they] had to bring in a big load, it was packed in baskets and carried by donkeys.”

I wonder if some ancient Egyptian millionaire paid in bronze to show anger at the tax. In today’s world, some people pay in pennies to encourage thrift or protest the bill, but businesses are not required to accept pennies.

I hope your tax bill doesn’t break the bank or your donkey’s back.


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