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Temettu was a tax introduced by the tanzimat reforms in the later Ottoman Empire.[1][2]

Temettu was a tax on estimated (or presumed) business profits; it was mostly paid by merchants and artisans. An early form of temettu was attempted in 1839 (following a firman of 1838 which announced sweeping tax reforms), but it was impractical without detailed information on business incomes. A comprehensive approach to taxation of business profits in the Ottoman empire - rather than the traditional method of taxing specific outputs or assets - only really became possible after a thorough cadastral survey carried out in 1858-1860, which collected detailed information on the status of businesses throughout the empire. Immediately after this, a new temettu was set at 3%; in 1878 it was raised to 4% of estimated profit.

In 1886 the temettu was increased to 5%, and it was also applied to wages and salaries; for most of the Ottoman empire, this was the first real income tax, in the modern sense.[1]

Temettu was paid annually;[3] it was a graduated tax, with the rich liable to pay considerably more than the poor. By 1910, temettu revenue had reached 1 million livres per year; the same as tobacco and petrol duties, and less than the revenue from customs.[4]

Farmers who did not participate in commerce were eventually exempted from temettu, after early attempts at taxation - they paid other farm taxes instead, such as a new form of âşâr which was imposed as part of the same tax reforms.[5] Foreigners were initially exempted, but there were later attempts to extract temettu payments from foreigners resident in the Ottoman empire. This extension of temettu was abolished in 1906[6] but later reinstated at the start of World War I and extended to foreigners in any profession.[7]


  1. ^ a b Shaw, Stanford (October 1975). "The Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Tax Reforms and Revenue System". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 6 (4): 421–459. doi:10.1017/s0020743800025368. JSTOR 162752. 
  2. ^ Reconstruction in Turkey. American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief. 1918. p. 207. 
  3. ^ Young, George (1906). Corps de droit ottoman: recueil des codes, lois, règlements, ordonnances et actes les plus importants du droit intérieur, et d'études sur le droit coutumier de l'Empire ottoman. The Clarendon Press. p. 285. 
  4. ^ Bulletin de l'Institut international de statistique, Volume 19, Parts 1-2. 1911. p. 351. 
  5. ^ Das Staatsarchiv, Volumes 58-59. Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft m.b.h. 1896. 
  6. ^ Hill, George. A History of Cyprus. p. 246. ISBN 978-1-108-02065-7. 
  7. ^ Diplomatic documents relating to the outbreak of the European war, Volume 2. Oxford university press, American branch. 1916. p. 1417.