Resm-i çift

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The Resm-i Çift (Çift Akçesi or Çift resmi) was a tax in the Ottoman Empire. It was a tax on farmland, assessed at a fixed annual rate per çift, and paid by land-owning Muslims. Some Imams and some civil servants were exempted from the resm-i çift.[1]

The tax was collected annually, on 1 March, from the holder of the timar or their tax-farmer. Some exemptions from resm-i çift were granted, but this was less common than exemptions from extraordinary taxes. Some of the sadat were initially considered exempt from taxes such as the resm-i çift, but this exemption ended in the 17th century; there were various exemptions for those involved in salt-making and mining.[2]

The Çift is a measure of land area, derived from the word for "pair"; it is an area of farmland which can be ploughed by a pair of oxen - the equivalent of the Byzantine Zeugarion.[3] It has been argued that the basic land tax in Asia Minor and the Balkans was directly copied from earlier Byzantine tax methods. A nim çift was half of that area (or half a yoke of oxen); a çiftli bennak was an area less than half; these terms match the Byzantine zeugarion, boidaton, and aktemon - and the rates of tax were initially similar.[4]

In the 15th and 16th centuries, most taxpayers in the Ottoman empire paid resm-i çift at a rate somewhere between 22 and 70 akçe; this could have been collected by a sipahi, as either a tax in kind or a cash tax. However, later centralised tax reforms led to cash payments of avâriz and nüzül replacing resm-i çift; this transition had begun by 1640.[5] A typical defter record from the village of Eyucek in Antep shows that çiftliks held 10 çift, taxed at 40 akçe per çift, totalling 400 akçe; this, along with most of the village's other taxes (mostly taxes on individual crops), was paid to the fiefholder.[6] Rates might vary for Muslims and nonmuslims; there are even instances of Muslim converts continuing to pay their "old" rate of tax.[7] Landless peasants might pay Resm-i bennâk instead.


  2. ^ Acun, Fatma (2002). "The Other Side of the Coin: Tax Exemptions within the Context of Ottoman Taxation History". Bulgarian Historical Review. 1 (2). 
  3. ^ Malcolm, Noel (1999). Kosovo: A Short History. Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0-06-097775-7. page 100
  4. ^ Vryonis, Speros (1969). "The Byzantine Legacy and Ottoman Forms". Dumbarton Oaks Papers. 23/24: 251–308. JSTOR 1291294. 
  5. ^ Demirci, Suleyman (2003). "Avariz and nüzul levies in the Ottoman Empire: An assessment of tax burden on the tax-paying subjects. A case study of the Province of Karaman, 1628-1700" (PDF). 
  6. ^ COŞGEL, Metin (2004). "Ottoman Tax Registers (Tahrir Defterleri)" (PDF). Historical Methods. 37 (2): 87–100. doi:10.3200/hmts.37.2.87-102. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  7. ^ Minkov, Anton (2004). Conversion to Islam in the Balkans: Kisve bahası petitions and Ottoman social life, 1670-1730. BRILL. p. 94.