Missouri Sales Tax Token

Missouri Sales Tax Token

We have lived in our house longer than any of its former half dozen owners. Built in 1937, at the height of the depression, it has always held a few oddities from that time. For example, in the basement’s rafters some of the joist’s cross braces were fashioned from the wooden crate that the cast-iron tub was delivered in. The original stenciling that was on the crate is still readable. Pictured is another artifact from that time. Also found in the basement was this 5-mil green plastic Missouri sales tax token. It is about the size of a nickel. With the advent of the depression, income taxes plummeted and along with defaults on property taxes, these combined losses of revenues caused a run on state and local budgets. In order to make good this loss revenue many states implemented a sales tax to shore up their budgets. As originally implemented this sales tax was applied in whole cents to all purchases, no matter how small in monetary value they might be. Shopping in a 5 & 10 could generate numerous small sales that were wildly over taxed. All this in a time of tight money. The tax token was introduced in 1935 to help alleviate this unfairness. Missouri was one of twelve states to use them. Produced in denominations of one-thousands of a dollar the pictured token would be worth 5/1000 of a dollar or half a cent. Tokens could be spent as normal currency. Eventually though this system was viewed as an inconvenience and an annoyance to shoppers and was discontinued with the introduction of bracketed sales taxes that more fairly levied sales taxes. Missouri was the last state to discontinue their use in the late 1940s.

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