Taxes, Imperial and otherwise (A to Z Challenge, T)23 April, 2016
Even in the Sea of Stars, taxes are inevitable arguably even moreso than death what with the existence of immortal dragons and the unliving beings and spirits.
The draconic houses collect taxes, tariffs and tribute from the lands they rule and the Empress takes one tenth of what the draconic houses gather. The Empress does not care what level the draconic houses tax their subjects at, only that she gets her share. Few Imperial officials are more feared by draconic houses and lesser governments alike than the Imperial Auditor who ensures that the Empress gets her share of all things, precisely and without fail. The standard penalty for failing to pay the proper amount of taxes is a fine equal to four times the amount withheld plus the original sum though auditors can adjust this under exceptional circumstance which must in turn be justified to the Empress herself.
The various draconic houses and the states that they directly and indirectly control pursue a wide range of taxation and tariff strategies, trying to maximize their receipts and deny money to their rivals. Merchants and travelers do their best to maneuver through these barriers to trade and travel while losing a minimal amount of money.
Naturally, corruption is endemic to collectors of taxes, outside of the Imperial Auditors, though it is harshly and routinely cracked down upon due to the costs and inefficiencies it imposes by the states and houses, it persists. Almost inevitably, the more complex a systems of taxes becomes, the more corruption it spawns partly why the Empress keep her share of taxes so simple that there is no misunderstanding of what belongs to her.
Notes: Taxes should not be neglected and remain as a threat even to venturers.