Revolutionary tax is a major form of funding for violent non-state actors such as guerrilla and terrorist organizations. Those outside the organization may consider it to be a euphemism for "protection money." Proponents of such groups maintain however that there is no difference between the revolutionary taxes "extorted" by given groups and corporate taxes raised by governments.
Revolutionary taxes are typically extorted from businesses, and they also "play a secondary role as one other means of intimidating the target population."
The Basque nationalist organization ETA depended on revolutionary taxes. Small to medium-sized businesses were extorted between the amounts of 35,000 to 400,000 euros each, which comprised most of ETA's 10 million euro budget in 2001.
In the Philippines most local and foreign companies pay revolutionary taxes to the Maoist New People's Army. According to the army, the tax is a major obstacle for the country's development while the New People's Army justified it as a tax to be paid upon entering territories controlled by the rebels being a belligerent force.
The revolutionary taxes of Colombian guerrilla movements have become more common in the 1980s and 1990s.
- Detection of Terrorist Financing, U.S. National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), 2002
- MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORISM FINANCING: AN OVERVIEW, Jean-François Thony, IMF.org, Seminar on Current Developments in Monetary and Financial Law Washington, D.C., May 7–17, 2002. "Money laundering and the financing of terrorism may be seen as distinct activities. ... sometimes discreetly called a “revolutionary tax” (ETA, FLNC, IRA)"
- Terrorism versus democracy: the liberal state response, Paul Wilkinson, Frank Cass Publishers, 2001, p. 70
- Suspected ETA supporters arrested in cross-border swoop Euronews 20/06/06
- Terror, Fires, Hail: Holiday Time in Europe, ABC News
- Counterterrorism: An Example of Co-operation, Juan Miguel Lian Macias, Ministry of Defence of Spain, 2002-2-22: "ETA is funded mainly from one source: the money it collects through extortion of small and medium businessmen, charging them the so-called "revolutionary tax". At present the amounts required are between 35,000 and 400,000 euros. The annual budget the terrorist organisation needs for the maintenance of its structures is estimated at around 10 million euros. Beyond the Spanish borders, ETA seeks links with similar groups and causes. Hence, it intends to gain the support of ideologically akin groups. It has or has had contacts with the Breton Revolutionary Army, with Corsican and Irish terrorist groups, with revolutionary groups from Latin America, etc."
- Rebels' 'revolutionary tax' adds to cost of business in Philippines, N.Y.Times, October 20, 2004
- Chapter 6 -- Terrorist Organizations, Country Reports on Terrorism 2007, U.S. Department of State
- Negotiating with Terrorists - A Reassessment of Colombia's Peace Policy, NICOLAS URRUTIA, Stanford Journal of International Relations, vol. 3, issue 2, 2002
- Trekking in the time of terrorism - The east is red with rhododendron and revolution, DAMBAR KRISHNA SHRESTHA, GUPHA POKHARI #243, 15.4.2005