One of the least-liked spaces in the classic board game Monopoly is the Income Tax space. A player who lands on Income Tax must choose one of two options: pay $200 to the bank or pay 10 percent of all their assets. According to the Monopoly rules, you must make your choice before adding up your assets, so it makes sense to always have a general idea of their value.
Since the Income Tax space is located just four spaces past Go, it is not uncommon for players to pass Go, collect $200, and then land on Income Tax. In this case, the $200 just received from passing Go must be counted as part of the player's assets.
In the game of Monopoly, you pay income tax based on luck. You can go through the entire game never landing on the space. It is all dependent on the roll of the dice.
Special note: As of September 2008, the new regular Monopoly U.S. version games only have the $200 Income Tax, excluding the 10 percent option.
Calculating the Value of Assets
If you think you have assets worth more than $2,000, you should pay the $200, it will be cheaper. If you suspect your assets are worth less than $2,000, you should do the math and pay 10 percent. To calculate the value of your assets in Monopoly, add the following:
- Cash on hand
- The printed price of all unmortgaged property
- The mortgaged value of mortgaged properties
- Printed price of all buildings (houses and hotels) owned
After you add up the value of your assets, pay 10 percent to the bank. For example, if your assets add up to $2900, pay $290 to the bank. You cannot go back at this point and elect to pay the $200 option you had before you added up your assets.
For serious Monopoly players, it might be best to have a running ledger on hand. Start the game with $1,500 on the ledger and add and subtract as you pay money, get money, buy and sell properties, get houses and hotels, and so on.
Changes to the Income Tax Space
Different editions of Monopoly have had different income tax rates over the years.
- The original 1935 edition charged a $300 income tax.
- In the Mac edition published in 2000, the tax percentages were 0 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent, 15 percent, and 20 percent and the accompanying dollar amounts were $0, $100, $200, $300, and $400.
- In the 2007 edition, the income tax amount was a whopping $900 or 10 percent of your total worth.
House Rules for Income Tax
House rules are informal rules agreed upon by the players of a game. They are not official Monopoly rules. Some house rules that relate to the Income Tax space specify:
- Income tax is always set at 10 percent of assets
- Income tax is always set at a flat $200
- Income tax is paid to the center of the board (not the bank) where it can be claimed by the next player who lands on Free Parking.