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Taxes, levies, fees

A system of taxes, levies and fees which is largely unaffected by religion, social status or origin is a creation of the modern state. Until the mid19th century there were large differences in the burdens on the various groups in society. The Jews in particular were subject to a range of special taxes, levies and fees, often going beyond those imposed on Christian citizens.
The Frankfurt historian Alexander Dietz cites a list of 34 different levies on Frankfurt Jews. These were collected by the treasurers of the Jewish community and were largely paid to the city council and the emperor. In part these represented protection money which the Jews had to pay for the right of residence. As the Jews were not allowed to own land and the city council retained title to the plots in the Judengasse, every house was subject to house and land tax. Another major levy was the property tax, which Christians also had to pay. Every head of a household had to pay onethird of a per cent of his property a year, up to a limit of 15,000 guilders. This meant that the maximum tax was 50 guilders. Naturally, this was a system which favoured the rich. In addition there was a range of levies tied to various activities or services, such as fees for registration or deregistration of the right of residence, fees for specific occupations, such as broker fees, meat tax on Jewish butchers and fees for specific city services, such as sewerage.


© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources