The Simplified Wealth of Nations of Adam Smith, Book 5, Chapter 2p, Article 4: General Taxes -- French Taxation

Chapter 2p, Article 4: General Taxes -- French Taxation

French Taxation
215 In France, the different revenue laws in the different provinces require many revenue officers to: These interrupt France's interior commerce.   216 Wine is perhaps the most important produce of France after corn. 217 Such various and complicated revenue laws are not peculiar to France.   218 Taxes on consumable commodities may be levied by:   219 The farmers of the public revenue never find the laws against tax evasion too severe.   220 The farmer sometimes has the monopoly of the taxed commodity.   221 In France, most of the crown's actual revenue is derived from eight sources:
  1. Taille
  2. Capitation
  3. Two vingtiemes
  4. Gabelles
  5. Aides
  6. Traites
  7. Domaine
  8. The farm of tobacco
  222 France's present finances need three very obvious reforms.
  1. The crown's revenue can produce an additional revenue equal to those last five taxes by:
    1. Abolishing the taille and the capitation
    2. Increasing the number of vingtiemes
  1. The gabelle, aides, traites, tobacco taxes, and all the different customs and excise taxes can be levied at much less cost if they were uniform throughout France.
    • Frances interior commerce might become as free as that of England.
  2. By subjecting all those taxes to be directly administered by the government, the exorbitant profits of the farmers-general can be added to the state's revenue.
    • The opposition from the private interests will be very effective for preventing the last two reforms as the first reform.
  223 The French tax system seems inferior to the British in every respect.   Dutch Taxation and Republican Government 224 In Holland, it has been said that the heavy taxes on necessities have ruined their principal manufactures.225 After all the proper subjects of taxation have been exhausted, if state exigencies still continue to require new taxes, they must be imposed on improper ones.
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Next: Chapter 3: Public Debts