Crusader Kings II Wiki

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Taxation is how you get your money in Crusader Kings II, and is thus an important feature to understand. I'll go into how taxation is calculated, and how to gain the greatest economical benefits. As always, there's a summary at the end.

The Basics

How much tax is paid depends on three factors:

  • Holding income
  • Tax law
  • Opinion towards tax recipient

These three factors are multiplied together to decide the tax paid.

Holding income Holding income is quite simple. It is calculated by adding the income of all buildings in a holding to the base income of that holding. The base income is 4 for a castle, 8 for a temple, and 12 for a city.
This income is then multiplied by any additional factors, primarily the Farming/Trade Practices/Church Taxes technologies and the Steward's Collect Taxes missions. In addition there are some events that can affect the income of a holding, but they're rather self-explanatory.

Tax Law Each type of holding has its own type of tax law. However it is worth noting that the tax a vassal pays is not in fact based on the type of holding, but the type of noble they are. For example if someone owns a city and a castle, and is a count he'll be paying the tax level decided by Feudal Taxation, not City Taxation.
The multiplier can vary from 0 to 1, but for your vassals the max is 0.55. The full list is below:


  • No Feudal Tax - 0
  • Small Feudal Tax - 0.1
  • Large Feudal Tax - 0.2
  • Harsh Feudal Tax - 0.3


  • Minimal City Taxes - 0.15
  • Normal City Taxes - 0.25
  • Large City Tax - 0.35
  • Harsh City Tax - 0.45


  • No Church Tax - 0
  • Minimal Church Tax - 0.35
  • Medium Church Tax - 0.45
  • Large Church Tax - 0.55

Your demesne however always has a multiplier of 1, so unless you're paying tax to anyone above you you get to keep it all.

Opinion If a tax payer's opinion towards the tax recipient is under 0, tax paid will be reduced by as many percent. Thus at 0 or above opinion they'll pay full tax, at -50 they'll pay half tax, and at -100 they'll pay no tax.
Your opinion towards yourself is always counted as a multiplier of 1.

Indirect Taxation You will also get a portion of any tax paid to your vassals, the same portion (in percent) as you get from their demesne income. This is generally a trivial amount unless they have a lot of vassals, though.

Calculation Thus the full formula for tax becomes this:
(TheirTaxIncome + (BaseIncome + Buildings)) * HoldingIncomeFactors * TaxLaw * OpinionModifier
For your own holdings it is simply this as both TaxLaw and OpinionModifier are equal to one.
(BaseIncome + Buildings) * HoldingIncomeFactors

Maximization Now that we know how tax works and what affects it, we can now work out how to maximize it.
First we've got simple construction, which will directly increase the income of a holding, which will trickle down as tax. As I detailed in this post, constructing buildings in your vassals' holdings gives less of a return on your investment than building in your own demesne. As such when seeking to maximize income you should build as many income buildings in your demesne as possible.
Second, you can up the tax law to make your vassals pay more. However if their opinion is already low enough this will not pay off, with a full list here:

  • 10% -> 20% gives more as long as opinion is originally above -80 (0.1 * 0.2 = 0.2 * 0.1)
  • 15% -> 25% gives more as long as opinion is originally above -75 (0.15 * 0.25 = 0.25 * 0.15)
  • 20% -> 30% gives more as long as opinion is originally above -70 (0.2 * 0.3 = 0.3 * 0.2)
  • 25% -> 35% gives more as long as opinion is originally above -65 (0.25 * 0.35 = 0.35 * 0.25)
  • 30% -> 40% gives more as long as opinion is originally above -60 (0.3 * 0.4 = 0.4 * 0.3)
  • 35% -> 45% gives more as long as opinion is originally above -55 (0.35 * 0.45 = 0.45 * 0.35)
  • 45% -> 55% gives more as long as opinion is originally above -45 (0.45 * 0.55 = 0.55 * 0.45)

As such, higher tax will almost always equal more income, but this does not take into account the hit to levies, nor the chance of rebellion.
Third, you can do what you can to keep all vassals above 0 opinion. Granting them titles, running tournaments, granting their wishes, making them councilors, etc.

Finally, we've got one special case: Clergy. Clergy will only ever pay you tax if they prefer you over the pope, and as their opinion towards the pope is generally in the 40 to 60 area getting them to like you more than the pope can be pretty hard. One extremely effective workaround is appointing an anti-pope. You will get all church taxes paid to the antipope, so every bishop who likes either you or the antipope more than they like the real pope will pay you church taxes. In addition, every bishop in the realm will pay tax to you if they like the antipope more than they like the real pope and their liege. If you rule a large realm church taxes could therefore end up as your largest source of income.

Impact on Other Areas While maximizing income is pretty simple, it can have a drastic effect on other areas of your realm. Increasing taxes will make your nobles like you less, and thus make them more likely to rebel and give you less levies. Too high taxes can thus make your realm considerably weaker, and massively increase internal turmoil. You can thus easily end up spending more time and money on placating your vassals and putting down rebellions than you earn in increased income.
So while you might end up earning more money, if you're not careful you'll never actually get to use that extra money for anything useful, instead using it up in unit upkeep and bribes.

Summary Through several different methods you can increase your income, but if you're not careful you won't get any use out of it.

Originally published by Meneth