Most people find Imperial taxes burdensome, to say the least. Every Imperial citizen must pay 3 gp in tax per year-nothing to the wealthy, but onerous to the common laborer. (The tax collector can instead choose to assess the value of a citizen’s current wealth and levy a yearly tax of 9 percent of the total.) Children are exempt from this unless they earn a wage, which means that fewer children work (and instead attend school) than one might suspect. Sometimes a parent convinces his employer to allow his child to work and add the wage to his own—this is more common in the manufactories and workshops of the Guildsman District than elsewhere. And, of course, children who work for their parents typically do not earn an official wage and so are not taxed.
The tax collectors also levy taxes on noncitizens, but not in the same fashion as for citizens. At any time, virtually any government official can demand one silver shield from a noncitizen as an Imperial services levy, as long as the noncitizen has spent the last week in the Empire. Technically, a noncitizen only needs to pay this once per week, but since there is no way to prove that one has already paid the levy, someone without citizenship papers could get charged multiple times.
The government attempts to impose “salvage” taxes on treasure that delvers find on their adventures. If they could, Imperial officials would place a tax collector at every known entrance to the Dungeon, but of course, that isn’t possible. So instead, the Empire keeps a tax assayer’s table in the Undercity Market, where delvers are instructed to register all of their finds and pay a 10 percent tax. Naturally, adventurers don’t cooperate with this plan. The Commissar has ordered a few of his Imperial Eyes to maintain a presence undercover in Delver’s Square and other places where delvers bring their treasure, and report what they see to the tax collectors.
Taxes on goods are levied as they come into the city, unless proper paperwork is presented to show that the taxes have already been paid or that the goods are tax exempt (which is to say, they are being sold to the government, the Church, or an official thereof). The tax rate on all goods coming into the city is 25 percent of their assessed value. They are then stamped or marked with an Imperial seal to show that they need not be taxed when sold.
Goods produced in the city are not taxed unless they are also bought and consumed in the city. In this case, the seller must pay the 25 percent rate on goods, collected monthly. The sale of certain goods, such as alcohol, is taxed at an even higher rate: almost 40 percent.
These high taxes encourage smuggling and black market activities. Smugglers sneak goods into the city and sell them on the sly for a greater profit—often offering a 10 percent discount to move the goods quickly and to cover the customer’s “risk.” It is a crime not only to circumvent the assessors, but to sell, buy, or even possess the results of such illegal actions.