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The Daily

A Look Inside ISIS's Tax Policy

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Dec 9, 2015
Territorial_control_of_the_ISIS_veAll states and aspiring states need taxes, and the so-called Islamic State is no exception. An article in Slate goes over just how the armed group handles internal revenue. If what the article says is true, the answer is: not particularly well at all. The 10 percent tax on wealth is joined by a series of penalties and fees for things such as wearing the wrong clothes, as well as import taxes on anyone seeking to sell goods there. People living in territories they've seized also pay in-kind taxes, such as portions of agricultural harvests from farmers, or inventory from shops. And rates are growing: the Slate article says taxes are getting increasingly burdensome, prompting even those who previously supported the group to try leaving the country. While certain parts of tax administration are relatively simple (such as the in-kind payments), it none the less remains hobbled by a lack of administrative infrastructure, and it may be approaching the limits of how much it can squeeze from the people still living within the seized territory.