Tax In Kind "A Burden On The Farmers"
Confederate soldiers weren't the only Southerners who suffered during during the Civil War. Many of the civilians on the home front endured hardships created by the war and their new government. Farmers and families who depended on the land for their subsistence were forced to give more than their fair share when the Confederate Congress levied a "tax in kind" on April 24, 1863.
The new tax took 10 percent of all agricultural products and livestock raised for slaughter. Anyone who did not deliver his 10 percent faced a 50 percent penalty. Through this burdensome tax the Confederate legislators hoped to pay for one-third of the war costs, feed their armies, and sell any surpluses to the populace.
One quartermaster was assigned to every Confederate congressional district in May 1863 to oversee the collections. Subagents assessed each farmer's crops to determine how much should be delivered to collection depots. Grain sacks and barrels were provided to the farmers, and the government paid for freight if the goods had to be shipped more than eight miles.
The government soon discovered that because of the sheer volume of provisions collected, along with the lack of transportation and poor organization, much of the food spoiled in warehouses while waiting to be shipped. Meanwhile soldiers and civilians alike were going hungry. In December 1863 the Confederate Congress tried to stop the waste by allowing the farmers to pay the equivalent of the 10 percent of their crops in cash payments.
When cries over unfair burdens shouldered by the farmers emanated throughout the South, Congress further amended the tax-in-kind legislation in February 1864. Farmers could deduct the agricultural tax from the 5 percent real and property tax due. Also, families who were struggling just to feed themselves were exempted from the tax in kind.
Fascinating Fact: By November 1864 the Confederate government reportedly had collected from the tax in kind $150 million in goods and cash, which kept their armies from starving.
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