The Kosher tax was one of several indirect taxes imposed by the Russian Imperial government and other European states on Jews, and much reviled as such. It is not to be confused with the modern antisemitic urban legend of a similar name.
In Russia, the tax, known as the korobka, was a tax paid only by Jews for each animal slaughtered in accordance with the kashrut rules and for each pound of this meat sold. It was part of the Russian Jewish "basket tax" or "box tax". Though it was used to refer to a tax on meat or slaughtering, the word korobka (Russian: коробка) actually means "box" in Russian. The tax came to be called that because Jews paying had to deposit a coin in a box at the kosher slaughterer.
According to Herman Rosenthal and Jacob Goodale Lipman, the tax was "the most burdensome and annoying of the special taxes imposed upon the Jews of Russia by the government". The burden of taxes, and the korobka in particular, was one of the factors which drove many Jews to abandon the towns and settle in villages or on noblemen estates.
With the annexation to Austria in 1772, special taxes were imposed on Jews in Galicia for marriage permits, kosher meat, synagogues, and similar items.
Between 1777 to 1784, the Jews of Horodenka, a region on the southeast corner of Galicia, paid a number of special taxes, including the "Protection and Tolerance Tax", and "Property and Occupation tax". In 1784, the Property and Occupation Tax was canceled and replaced with the Kosher Meat Tax.
- Rosenthal, Herman; Lipman, J.G. "Basket-Tax", Jewish Encyclopedia.
- Leonid Vasilʹevich Belovinskiĭ. Энциклопедический словарь российской жизни и истории: XVIII-начало XX в, Olma Media Group, 2003, ISBN 978-5-224-04008-7 p. 357.
- Dubnow, Simon; Friedlaender, Israel. History of the Jews in Russia and Poland, Avotaynu Inc, 2000 ISBN 978-1-886223-11-0, p. 227.
- Korobka Tax on Kraziai's Jews, Document 49-1-1362 from the Kaunas Archive
- Diner, Hasia R. Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration, Harvard University Press, 2001, ISBN 978-0-674-00605-8, p. 164.
- Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): History, vol. 8, 734
- Gelber, N. M. The History of the Jews of Horodenka, p. 86.
- Iaşi, by Lucian-Zeev Herşcovici
- Lowenstein, Steven (1994). The Berlin Jewish community: enlightenment, family, and crisis, 1770-1830. ISBN 0-19-508326-1.