Taxes:  King George and you

written on April 7, 2009

by David A. Leas

I posted the following message to the Leas Forum on April 7, 2009.  The Leas Forum is located at:

Every year I find myself facing two distinct tax seasons.  The first season begins on February 1st.  These are the taxpayers who will be receiving refunds and who want to file their tax returns as soon as possible.

The second season starts now; the week before April 15th.  These are the people who will owe taxes and have put off filing their returns until the last minute.

It is to this last group that I want to address this message.

Paying taxes is no fun, but you can take some comfort in knowing that you are part of a group that has been paying taxes even before this country was a country.

When you first sign on to the Leas Forum you will notice a copy of a listing of the Tavern (hotel) licenses issued in 1775 in York County, Pennsylvania.  This listing was posted by Kathryn.

Leonard Leas ran a tavern in Reading Township, York County from 1762-1775.  To receive the license, Leonard was required to pay the tavern tax.  When the war effort began, taxes went up.  Not only was there an increase in the tavern tax, there was also an increase in marriage licenses, the carriage tax, and the tax on exported tobacco.  The poll tax was also increased with a unique twist; any taxpayer who did not take an oath of allegiance to the Revolution would be charged double (Virginia in 1777).  Property taxes were also increased during this time.

When you get that empty feeling in the pit of your stomach as you write that check to the U.S. Treasury, remember that your ancestor, Leonard Leas, probably experienced that same feeling.  Small comfort, but it is one more link to the past.

Thatís it for now; Iíve got tax returns to complete!


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