Chapter XVII - Taxes

  • 1. Definition.
  • 2. Kinds of taxes.
  • 3. Customs duty.
  • 4. Internal revenue.
  • 5. Stamps.
  • 6. State taxes.
  • 7. Exempt from taxes.
  • 8. Insufficient taxes.
  • 9. Personal property.
  • 10. Town taxes.
  • 11. Payments.
  • 12. Corporation taxes.
  • 13. Taxes in general.
  • 14. The returns.

Generally speaking, tax bills are paid with reluctance.

This is no doubt due to the fact that with every other form of payment one has something tangible to show for the expenditure.

If every good citizen could be brought to see that his private interests are closely linked with public affairs, he would take more interest in the local politics of his town and county, and so have a voice in the expenditure of taxes by selecting the best men to do the work for him.

Taxes are forced contributions levied on citizens to provide money for public expenses, such as law and order, schools, charities and public institutions.

All tax laws are made by the men who pay the taxes.

You say "No" to this.

"The tax laws are made by the legislators up at the state capital."

Very true; but who nominates and elects the legislators? Did you not put them into office?

"No, the bosses did that," you reply.

True again, but good men are in the majority and if they did their duty to their country and themselves, there would be no bosses and taxes would be honestly spent.


Tax laws are enacted by Congress, and by the legislatures of our many states. Taxes cannot be collected without this authority.

State taxes are collected for the state use only.

United States taxes are expended for the benefit of all the people of all the states.

Taxes may be further divided into direct and indirect.

Direct taxes are, at present, only employed by the states. They are levied on realty and personal property, and are paid by the particular person named in the tax bill presented by the authorized collector.

The amount of these taxes vary each year, depending on the public requirements.

They are based on assessments made by officers appointed for the purpose and generally known as assessors.


Though there is no demand made on each individual to pay the indirect taxes required by the Government, yet indirectly every person who spends little or much money is paying them.

The Government's chief means of raising the great sums of money needed yearly to carry on its machinery is by customs duties and internal revenue collections.

The customs revenue is obtained from a tax levied on certain articles imported from foreign countries.

This customs tax is called a tariff.

The question as to the goods that shall be subject to a tariff and the amount to be levied on the same, is one that has long perplexed statesmen and been a leading party issue.

The merchant, to whom the goods are assigned from a foreign port, must pay the duty levied on them by a Government Appraiser before he can take them away.

Private parties, landing from abroad at any of our ports of entry, are required, before getting their baggage, to write out a declaration of the things contained in their trunks. But this declaration does not prevent the customs inspectors from making a careful personal examination. All things found dutiable, whether declared or not, are set apart and held until the assessment or duty is paid.

The evasion of a customs duty is called "smuggling" and is punished by the confiscation of the goods, and penalties in the way of fine and imprisonment.

There are people who would consider it a sin to cheat their butcher, but see no wrong in cheating the Government.

To the merchant who pays tariff duties the amount involved is a direct tax.

When the merchant sells his goods to the retailer or consumer, he adds the tariff to his freight, insurance, interest, etc., as direct purchase cost. This is strict business, but the consumer pays all the bills with the profit added.

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