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Accounting working for the state: tax assessment and collection during the New Kingdom, ancient Egypt

Ezzamel, Mahmoud 2002. Accounting working for the state: tax assessment and collection during the New Kingdom, ancient Egypt. Accounting and Business Research 32 (1) , pp. 17-39. 10.1080/00014788.2002.9728952

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This paper examines the relationship between accounting and taxation in antiquity. It draws upon complete translations of original documents from the New Kingdom (1552–1080 BC), ancient Egypt, to examine the accounting practices used in the various stages of the ‘cycle of taxation’, beginning with identifying taxable subjects, through the estimation and final assessment of taxes, to the collection, transportation and storage of taxes. The paper argues that these accounting practices were sufficiently fine-tuned for an ancient system of human accountability to function. Accounting practices used in these ancient documents embodied several key characteristics: designation of precise time and space, the identification of individuals responsible, and the naming, itemisation, enumeration, valuation and attribution of responsibility for different objects. Extrinsic relative valuations of different objects collected as tax in kind could be derived because the ancient scribes used a money of account system that allowed inter-translatability across different monies. This evidence points to the centrality of the role of accounting in the economy of ancient Egypt.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > C Auxiliary sciences of history (General)
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 0001-4788
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:25

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