General Question

yaujj48's avatar

How are taxes paid in the early 20th century?

Asked by yaujj48 (1044points) 1 month ago

When I meant how, I mean like techniques stuff. While I know in the today’s world you use online to pay taxes. I wonder how taxes are paid in the particular period of 1890s to 1910s since it is not mentioned specifically how in my search.

My parents mentioned before the widespread of Internet, they use cheques to pay their taxes at the tax department (Their period is in the 1980s to 90s). Does this apply to the period I asked?

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9 Answers

snowberry's avatar

Yes. Or money order or cashier’s check.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I think mostly cash back in the old days. Many Boomers were raised to only use cash.

Forever_Free's avatar

While checking has been around for centuries most every transaction was in cash.

kritiper's avatar

I think @snowberry got it right.
It wouldn’t be practical to have to haul all that cash around, so much of it being in gold and silver coin, or gold dust, not to mention having to haul all that cash back to Washington, DC.
A check or money order would be much better, and less likely to be stolen.

JLeslie's avatar

Believe it or not, some people still pay property taxes in person, in cash or by some type of check.

Income taxes are still very often paid with checks, money orders, or cashiers checks.

Entropy's avatar

Remember that in the US, prior to the income tax amendment being ratified in 1913 (and even for a time after) most of the federal government’s revenues were raised via tariffs. The era of big government (as Bill Clinton phrased it) really only became possible with the invention of the income tax. The average person paid taxes very indirectly.

Even property taxes, while certainly extant, were far lower than modern ones. It’s not mainly that rates were lower, but valuations were lower and states were inconsistent in how they taxed. So paying your property taxes in those days well likely would have been you showing up at the local govt office and dropping cash on them.

zenvelo's avatar

People have used checks for well over a hundred years. Back in the sixties, my dad used to talk about his boss doing his taxes in early February, cutting the check dated April 15 and then not mailing it in until tax day.

My tax forms were filled out by hand until the mid 90s. I don’t know why @KNOWITALL thinks we boomers all learned to use cash. Everyone I knew in college in 1973 had a checking account, as did my older brother and sister.

JLeslie's avatar

In the early 1900’s income taxes were due March 1st, and then that was quickly changed to March 15th, except if I remember correctly, I think for soldiers it was April 15th. Then in the 1950’s it changed to being due on April 15th for everyone.

Jeruba's avatar

As a young working girl back in the sixties, I paid my taxes by check unless I’d done a good enough job of calculating my deductions so I didn’t owe anything on April 15th.

@zenvelo, everyone I knew in college in 1964 had a checking account. We carried our checkbooks around and used them even for small purchases, as little as $2.00 and sometimes even less. ($2.00 in 1964 is equivalent to more than $19.00 today.)

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