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The former wheelhouse of the hydraulic engineering inspection in Berlin-Kreuzberg was used to collect the excise duties

The excise , also Accise (French) or Accis (Latin), was an indirect tax , usually a consumption tax or an internal tariff . Excises were made on basic foodstuffs (for example rye, wheat, hops or other grains or flour), on foodstuffs (sugar, salt, fat, meat), luxury goods (tobacco, coffee, tea, beer, sparkling wine), on livestock or on other items Consumption charged.


The collection of excises has been attested since the 11th century in Spain (1001) and Venice and the 13th century in the German Empire (Cologne 1206). In the 17th century, the originally municipal tax also became significant in the federal states.

Excise collectors were tax (sub) officials (gate clerks) who raised the excise directly at the city gate. In many older city constitutions, the excise or Ziesemeister were ex officio responsible for the collection or supervision of the collection . These could also be people who had leased the right to collect taxes from the city; their choice traditionally took place on St. Peter's Day (February 22nd) “with a burning candle”. This type of collection posed a high risk of abuse and was therefore particularly hated by the population. It was also repeatedly criticized by contemporary experts.

Under Friedrich Wilhelm I , the excise duty in Prussia also became a protective tariff , as it was levied on foreign goods, above all beverages, colonial and manufactured goods, and collected at the gate control. In the course of this, the excise wall was erected.

In feudalism , in which privileged estates were able to successfully defend themselves against the imposition of direct burdens ( tax privileges ), excise duties and customs duties played an essential role in circumventing the opposition. This was particularly evident in the so-called excise dispute of the 17th and 18th centuries. After the tax privileges for direct taxes were more and more dismantled in the second half of the 19th century, the assessment of consumption taxes changed.

The place or the building in which these taxes were collected could also be designated as an excise (e.g. "Alte Akzise" in Hamburg-Horn). In some cities a typical ensemble of buildings emerged that consisted of a small house on either side of the city gate, for example the Ratinger Tor in Düsseldorf and the buildings of today's Museum of Photography in Braunschweig.


  • Andreas Schwennicke: “Without taxes, there is no state”. On the development and political function of tax law in the territories of the Holy Roman Empire (1500–1800) (=  Studies on European Legal History, Vol. 90). Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 1996, ISBN 3-465-02904-6 .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. About the Landt- und HandwercksAccis tax from Anno 1641 to 1682. Ordinance in Saxony, 1698. Archived in the University and State Library (ULB) Saxony-Anhalt .
  2. Martin Hackenberg: The leasing of duties and taxes. A legal transaction of territorial financial administration in the Old Reich, illustrated using the example of the Electorate of Cologne. Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-465-03177-6 , p. 24 (At the same time: Frankfurt am Main, Universität, Dissertation, 2000).