Taxes and Wages

researched by Nero Would and Vitruvius AIA


The amount of taxes paid is calculated every month for every house in the city. Prior to the patch, the formula for calculating how much tax a house would pay was:

(Population of house) x (Tax Rate Multiplier) x (Tax Rate) = (Taxes paid per Month) With the patch installed, the new formula is: :

(Population of House) x (Tax Rate Multiplier) x (Desirability Adjusted Tax Rate) = (Taxes paid per Month) :

Population of House: Number of residents in the house when the tax is calculated each month. :

Tax Rate Multiplier: Value varies from 0 to 24 depending on the Housing Level. The Tax Rate Multiplier for every level of housing can be found in the Emperor Housing Chart.

Desirability Adjusted Tax Rate: Basic tax rates remain unchanged:

  • 00% – None
  • 03% – Very Low
  • 06% – Low
  • 09% – Normal
  • 12% – High
  • 15% – Very High
  • 18% – Outrageous

The desirability increase is based on the desirability of the north tile of the residence. For every 10 points higher than the minimum required, the basic tax rate is increased ½% up to a maximum increase of 2-½%.

The minimum required desirability is one point higher than the value at which the house will devolve. The value at which a house will devolve varies for different Housing Levels and Difficulty Settings. The “Devolve” values are listed in the Emperor Housing Chart.

The maximum desirability registered for any tile is 100. (This severely limits the effect of the desirability increase for Heavenly Compounds at Very Hard Difficulty, where Heavenly Compounds devolve at 83. The first desirability increase, ½%, occurs at 94, and there isn’t another one.)

Rounding off:
In the formula “(Population of House) x (Tax Rate Multiplier) x (Desirability Adjusted Tax Rate) = (Taxes paid per Month)”, all values below .5 are rounded down to the nearest whole number. All values .5 and above are rounded up.

Increasing the desirability of the area does not necessarily increase the amount of taxes a house will pay. Consider the following example:

Normal Difficulty, Normal Tax Rate, 15 Plain Cottages with a population of 22 each.

Minimum Desirability required is -5. The Desirability Adjusted Tax Rates would be:

  • -5 to 4 = 9.0%
  • 5 to 14 = 9.5%
  • 15 to 24 = 10.0%
  • 25 to 34 = 10.5%
  • 35 to 44 = 11.0%
  • 45 and above = 11.5%

Taxes collected per year are as follows:

INT[(Population of House) x (Tax Rate Multiplier) x (Desirability Adjusted Tax Rate)] x (Number of Houses) x (12 Months)

where INT rounds to the nearest whole number (not down).

INT[(22 x (1) x (.09)] x (15) x (12) = INT(1.98) x 15 x 12 = 2 x 15 x 12 = 360

INT[(22 x (1) x (.095)] x (15) x (12) = INT(2.09) x 15 x 12 = 2 x 15 x 12 = 360

INT[(22 x (1) x (.10)] x (15) x (12) = INT(2.20) x 15 x 12 = 2 x 15 x 12 = 360

INT[(22 x (1) x (.105)] x (15) x (12) = INT(2.31) x 15 x 12 = 2 x 15 x 12 = 360

INT[(22 x (1) x (.11)] x (15) x (12) = INT(2.42) x 15 x 12 = 2 x 15 x 12 = 360

INT[(22 x (1) x (.115)] x (15) x (12) = INT(2.53) x 15 x 12 = 3 x 15 x 12 = 540

When considering increasing the desirability of an area to increase tax income, the following things should be considered:

  1. It is only the north tile of the house that is considered in the calculations.
  2. The maximum desirability registered for any tile is 100.
  3. Will the increase in desirability be enough to raise the Desirability Adjusted Tax Rate to the next level?
  4. Will “rounding off” negate the tax increase?
  5. Will the increase in taxes offset the cost of increasing the desirability?

Wages and Worker Percentages

Wage rates and their effect on the number of workers in your city are unchanged from Zeus. The following table lists the percentage of common citizens who work, based on the wage rate.

Wage Rate
Cash/yearVery EasyEasyNormalHardVery Hard
Very Low2.046%41%36%33%31%
Very High4.057%52%47%44%42%

Your monthly wage bill is calculated by multiplying the number of employed workers by the “cash/year” number, dividing by 12, and rounding down to get a whole number.
For example, if in a particular month you have 100 employed workers and wage rate set to High, your wage bill for the month will be:
(100 * 3.4 / 12) = 28.3 which is rounded down to 28.

The size of your workforce is calculated by multiplying the number of common citizens (total population minus those living in elite houses) by the worker percentage for your wage rate and difficulty level, then rounding down to get a whole number.
For example, if you are playing on Hard, have the wage rate set to Normal, and you have 400 people in common housing, you workforce will be:
(400 * 39%) = 156

Credit should go to RSC for discovering the worker percentages in Zeus.

Setting tax/wage rates

Suppose you decide to keep taxes and wages at the same level (to keep your people reasonably happy). Should you set them both to very low, very high, or somewhere in between?

As long as all your citizens are paying taxes (Plain Cottage or higher, visited by a tax official), it appears that you are better off to increase taxes and wages as high as possible. The following table shows the annual profit (positive number) or loss (negative number) per citizen for each difficulty level if you set taxes and wages to the same level (on base tax desirability). The table assumes that you have 10% unemployment.

Tax/Wage rateVery EasyEasyNormalHardVery Hard
Very Low-0.47-0.38-0.29-0.23-0.20
Very High-0.25-

As you can see, higher taxes and wages are better and strangely you make more profit at higher difficulty levels. In Zeus, I found that as long as you treated your citizens well in other respects, you could set taxes one step high than wages without causing unrest. That makes Very High wages and Outrageous taxes a real money maker.

The PWTWP&C Spreadsheet

This is a spreadsheet which is available to assist you in calculating Population, Workers, Taxes, Wages, Profit & Consumption of Food and Goods in your city. This is an easy to use Excel program produced by Vitruvius AIA and Nero Would which you can download it from the Miscellaneous Downloads Section.

Confucius and Taxes

With the hero Confucius in the city the tax rate is increased by 2 for each tax level from Very Low to Outrageous (None stays none). This means that with Confucius in the city the rates become :

  • 00% – None
  • 05% – Very Low (up from 03%)
  • 08% – Low (up from 06%)
  • 11% – Normal (up from 09%)
  • 14% – High (up from 12%)
  • 17% – Very High (up from 15%)
  • 20% – Outrageous (up from 18%)