The Dutch East India Company's tax farming in 18th century Malacca

Diane Lynette Kraal, Jeyapalan Kasipillai

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Abstract

This study concerns eighteenth century Dutch East India Company (VOC) tax farming practices in the Southeast Asian port town of Malacca. Empirical data from VOC archives are used to determine the value of VOC's tax farming. Adopting a qualitative methodology, and drawing on perspectives from Adam Smith's tax maxims, the study focuses on determining the impact of the VOC's tax farming practices on Malacca's taxpayers, whether they were inter-continental or local intra-island traders, townspeople, or Malay farmers. The study facilitates a further understanding of the global phenomenon of tax farming practice and its demise. Findings suggest that the impact of the VOC's Malacca tax farming varied across groups of taxpayers, but more negatively affected minority and local Malay groups, demonstrating why Adam Smith's governance maxims still guide government tax policy in many countries today. The study complements the paper published from the 2012 Tax History Conference in Cambridge, which covered the nineteenth century handover of Malacca by the Dutch to the British. © School of Taxation and Business Law (Atax), Australian School of Business The University of New South Wales. © School of Taxation and Business Law (Atax), Australian School of Business The University of New South Wales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-281
Number of pages29
JournaleJournal of Tax Research
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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