Use of demonetized postage as revenue

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May 12, 2017

This one is interesting. There's a lot going on, and some head-scratchers... enough for me to have some questions about its legitimacy. Here are the front and back of the document:

I sent out the following inquiry to several revenue experts:

File under "hard to fully discern from eBay images". It's not until you get it in hand that one can fully evaluate.

See attached high-res images.

On the side with the demonetized postage, it's overpaying the tax by 1 cent. Not a huge red flag if revenues were indeed unavailable. It's very late, but some of the other examples I have of demonetized postage used as revenues are also late.

The second side is more troubling.

1. I can't figure out what transaction is being taxed here. If it's an affadavit, those were untaxed per Mike Mahler's tax rate tables.

2. More importantly, the revenue doesn't align with the document as far as initials or date. Quite likely stuck on there after the fact... but there's layers of writing, so it's hard to tell what is actually going on.

Legit or bogus?

Here are the various responses I received.

From Bart Rosenberg:

I'm not sure that both sides should be 5 cents. Because it is money from an estate, I am not sure whether this constitutes an agreement rather then a simple receipt.

From Eric Jackson:

The side with the postage seems to be okay. The side with the revenue is paying the tax on a notarized or certified document. The stamp appears to be tied by the crease, but the date is off. The initials on the cancel seem to relate to the parties of the document.

It's a tough one.

From Richard Friedberg:

Hard to say for sure, but let's try:

The 3 cent is paying the two-cent receipt tax and is being given to John Bahr in his capacity as an estate administrator acknowledging that the money due to Christian Emig has been paid in full. This stamp is signed by Mr. Emig who has issued the receipt.

The other side (?) is paying the certificate tax which was 5 cents. It is being certified that the amount paid by Bahr to Emig is correct and was signed by a JP. Normally, the JP might have initialed the R24c, but it appears that Mr Bahr did.

While Emig was paid in March, one of the parties must have had second thoughts and wanted the transaction to be certified (most likely the payor, Mr Bahr). So.....Emig likely said "OK, but you're paying for the stamp, since I already gave you a receipt."

Postage was used as revenue throughout the tax period since a penny saved is.......

From Mike Morrissey:

This came out of an estate account file. It is a receipt on one side and a certificate on the other. All sorts of weird stuff shows up in such files, especially in rural counties. Completely good in all respects. Yes, the affidavit was not taxable all such ancillary certificates supposedly covered by the probate of will tax, but fully half of all of them bear a 5c stamp. The government never lost sleep over NOT promulgating exceptions to the tax vigorously.

From Mike Mahler:

I will type as I think/analyze.

Front:

March 12 receipt of $$ acknowledged

Annotated "Allowed April 22"

Back:

"Subscribed & sworn" April 19

Annotated "(Claim) Filed April 22"

I don't get it. If it was paid March 12, what was the point of all the rest? Estate bookkeeping?

But "Filed ... Claim" indicates court proceeding.

The 5c revenue appears to have been reused, which would be consistent with use of the old postage stamp.

Mascoutah Ill. was presumably a small place?

An affidavit was only exempt if made in the course of legal proceedings. My take is that normally it was subject to general Certificate tax, as a certified statement.

IMO the receipt with demonetized stamp is nice. The uncertainty about what's on the reverse doesn't detract much if at all.

I call legit.

I'm the first to admit that I'm not a scholar, so some of the sleuthing required to discern the transactions and taxes involved (not only what was paid, but also what SHOULD have been paid) is frequently a bit beyond me. Interesting how such a small document can have that much going on...

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