New War Taxes Go into Effect (14 April 1915)

Beginning on April 14th, the federal government’s new war taxes went into full effect. The new taxes included a one cent tax on new bank notes as well taxes for loan and insurance companies. While these taxes surely would have had an impact, it would have been the variety of direct taxes which affected Waterloo Region residents most keenly. New taxes were applied on cable and telegraph messages, on letters and post cards, on money orders and cheques, and on railway and steamship tickets. Taxes were even applied to items such as wines, patent medicines, and toiletries.

Even before the taxes went into effect, local post offices began selling government-issued war tax stamps. These stamps came in one- or two-cent denominations and were used for paying the new duties on letters, post cards, and money orders, but could also be used to pre-pay for duties on other items like patent medicines, bank cheques, and wines.

(“War Tax Went into Force To-Day,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 14 April 1915; “’War Tax’ Stamps Now on Sale,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 12 April 1915; “War Tax Patent Medicines, Perfumes, Etc.” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 14 April 1915; “War Tax on Tickets,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 13 April 1915.)