[LMB] Barrayar: a taxing question

Judy R. Johnson jrj at fidalgo.net
Sun Jun 19 06:38:00 BST 2011

-----Original Message-----
From: lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk
[mailto:lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk] On Behalf Of Pat Mathews
Sent: Saturday, June 18, 2011 12:24 PM

Aral told Mark that the Counts do now, officially pay taxes; however, they
do make a regular "gift to the emperor" - the symbolic bag of gold at the
ceremony, and the actual remittance presumably mailed or wire-transferred

Now - suppose some count, for various reasons, should refuse to make his
"gift to the emperor"? Of course, to do that in the public ceremony is an
open declaration of war, and probably followed by stomping out and slamming
the door, with or without an impassioned recital of his grievances. 

But failing to send or being late with the remittances? I'm sure Gregor
would quietly send someone around -- Miles, I'll bet -- to find out what
gives. Oh, now *there's* a plot bunny for you! But I can think of several
reasons --

1) Poverty. Or miserliness. 
2) A failing mind.
3) Political disaffection
4) Wanting to make a test case of it.

But --- what recourse does Gregor have besides the persuasive powers of Lord
Auditor Hyperactive Little Git? 

And do the lesser Vor fill out their tax returns like any commoner? Or is
there some sort of symbolic "in lieu of knightly service" fairy tale for
them as well? (Ooh, and wouldn't you hate to see Tien Vorsoisson around tax
time, with his chronic financial messiness? I'll bet Ekaterin finds places
to hide, clear across the dome, during that time.)

And who collects the taxes from Silvy Vale? If it's their Count, what stops
them from overcollecting and pocketing the difference? 

Sorry -- you all would have a retired accountant on the list.

NEW from JRJ> As to Gregor's recourse for a Count's non-compliance, refusal
to seat him in the Council of Counts, for starters.  Refusal to provide
Imperial services - - the financial setup - - import/export - - equivalent
of stock market and banking services - - centralized data sharing shuts out
that District - - interstellar travel and money transfers cease, and... need
any more? 

The actual electric transfer to the Emperor occurs a couple of days in
advance, so its absence would be noted far in advance of the gold-bag
ceremony.  Piotr explained it to Cordelia in the early days, before the

Entwife Judy
The Skiffy Minded

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