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What I Learned about Taxes from Revolutionary Paris

054April, our traditional tax month

I spent one full weekend pulling all my information together just so I could hand it over to the CPA and they could fill out some forms (and then charge me $850). Now I don’t expect you to feel sorry for me but I really did spend all my time compiling information that weekend (from when I got up in the morning until I went to bed). You see, I have four tax entities to prepare (Stew & Sandy, Southeast Business Forums, Yooper Publications, and our HOA).

As I’m sitting at the dining room table doing all of this, I got to thinking about France, the three estates, and the French tax situation back in 1789. I decided I was part of the 99% known as the Third Estate. The other two estates—the clergy and the nobility—did not pay any taxes. Now I’m certainly not part of the clergy. And although I do own land (that was one of the prerequisites for being a noble), I still live from paycheck to paycheck. So that really does eliminate me from the nobility class.

So I guess I’m just a poor peasant or a member of the Third Estate

I suppose the kings figured out the clergy (or the first Estate) were non-profits even back then. I think it may also have been they didn’t want to get on the bad side of the pope. But the real reason for the clergy not paying taxes was the fact that they did perform necessary services for the folks in their respective parishes and therefore took that burden off the monarch’s shoulders (and treasury).

Now the nobility on the other hand, didn’t pay taxes because they were expected to bear arms and join the king whenever he declared war on someone. This was the quid-pro-quo of the day. That may have worked in medieval France, but by 1789 the king couldn’t afford to go to war. The days of the Crusades were over and all the Third Estate saw were the nobility prancing around in their fancy clothes, fast carriages, and going to endless parties. Read More What I Learned about Taxes from Revolutionary Paris

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Knights Templar

Those of you new to this site, may not have been privy to this blog. Which seems to be a topic of interest.  We are bringing it back for your entertainment and enjoyment. As you travel during the holidays, these might come in handy during those delays and waits in the airport and more. Happy Holidays.

As many of you may know, I’m doing research for two books on Paris during times where people got their heads chopped off and were burned at the stake (among other agonizing events). So how could I NOT talk about more dead people?

P_003 by Stew Ross Travel
Jacques de Molay met his fiery end right here.

We were on our way to the second district on our (translated: mine) prescheduled itinerary for the day when I abruptly got everyone off the Metro. We were so close to the Pont Neuf that I couldn’t resist. Sandy and I had never been down to the lower level of the point of the island (the extreme western side of the Île de la Cité). One of the attractions of going to the lower point is to see the real level of the island when the Romans began their colony.

Read More Knights Templar