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Cess /sɛs/ is a tax. It is usually known as tax on tax. Cess is generally levied for promoting services like health, education, etc. Government often charges cess for the purpose of development in social sectors. Cess is levied on high income group people, as poor and middle income groups generally have lower tax rates. Through cess is levied by government, poor are benefitted. This is a shortened form of "assess".[1] The spelling is due to a mistaken connection with census.[2]

It was the official term used in Ireland when it was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, but has been superseded by "rate". The term was formerly particularly applied to local taxation.[2]

In colonial India it was applied, with a qualifying prefix, to any taxation, such as irrigation-cess, educational-cess, and the like.[3] They are collectively referred to as "cesses" in government censuses, e.g. "land revenue and cesses".[4]

In modern India, it refers to a tax earmarked for a particular purpose, such as education.

In Scotland, it refers to the property tax which was enacted in Scotland in 1665 and continued to be levied through the eighteenth century.

The term is used by the rubber industry in Thailand to refer to Rubber Export Tax, which funds that country's Office of Rubber Replanting Aid Fund.

It has also been used by the Jamaican Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to denote a tariff on imports.[5]


  1. ^ dictionary.com
  2. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cess" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 768.
  3. ^ CESS - Encyclopædia Britannica
  4. ^ Abbottābād Tahsīl - Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 5, p. 1
  5. ^ Agriculture Ministry considers applying cess to imported coffee, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Government of Jamaica, February 18, 2014

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cess". Encyclopædia Britannica. 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 768.