Ancient Javanese Tax Evasion and Corruption

Ancient Javanese tax evasion and corruption caused issues since the 10th century. Farmers and traders were taxed, leading to bribery and irregularities.

Tax Evasion in Ancient Java has been a serious problem since the 10th century. Farmers in ancient Java paid a 10% tax for every crop they harvested.

Taxes in ancient Java were paid by professionals, traders, and even robbers. The Palepangan Inscription (906 AD) calculated taxes per winnowing, not per square meter. Trade or sales tax was applicable to traders regardless of their scale of operation.

Ancient Javanese society had a taxation system that included both foreigners and artists or performers, managed by state servants. Foreigners and artists or performers were categorized as flashy residents and subject to taxes.
State servants, mangilala dwarya haji, managed the treasury, calculated land area and population, and collected taxes through pangurang and nayaka officers.

Ancient Javanese tax collection and administration. The Nayakas collect taxes from the Rama in each village, then hand them over to regional rulers or Rakryan and Pamgat who pass them on to the palace treasury. Tax collectors were forbidden from entering the Sima areas exempt from the king’s regular taxes. Sima areas have buildings of worship or important public facilities and their maintenance costs are borne by the residents.

There is still 1/3 of the income from buying and selling in Sima areas are sent to the royal treasury. Ancient Javanese kings helped the people by reducing or even abolishing taxes when there were complaints from the people.

Ancient Java had corrupt tax officials. Residents had to face corrupt tax officials. King dealt with corrupt officials in a powerful way. Tax evasion and corruption in ancient Indonesian kingdoms. Tax collectors admitting to using collected taxes for personal entertainment. Punishment for tax evasion in the form of punishments for children and grandchildren and death penalty for corrupt officials in Majapahit period.

The death penalty for corruptors has a strong historical foundation. Majapahit developed a method of capital punishment, including death at the hands of the experience and being thrown into the sea
The punishment was referred to in the Kutaramanawa Law Book and administered by the state, with the appointed executioner executing the perpetrator.

Majapahit’s decisive action of sentencing thieves to death teaches us about the importance of law enforcement and corruption eradication. Majapahit implemented severe death penalty for thieves to maintain welfare of people
Indonesia should take inspiration from this and implement the harshest penalties for corruptors and enforce laws strictly.


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