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Pay Your Tax Bill in Coins and Small Bills

by Ryan Guina

Indiana resident Cary Malchow, protested Indiana’s rising property taxes by making his property tax payment in cash. Statewide, Indiana property taxes rose an average of 24% over the last year. Malchow paid over $12,000 in pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollar bills. The $12,000 covered only half the annual property taxes for his residence, business, and rental properties.

Yahoo! has a video segment and interview, and shows Malchow dragging the money through the halls of the county’s treasury department. On the Yahoo! video, he stated he would make his next payment in cash as well. The video also shows the county treasurer getting upset with Malchow and telling him to take it out of there and bring it back as a normal payment. He refused.

Apparently the county does not have any policy in place against payment in cash, so they were required to accept the payment. It took all three treasury office workers over an hour to count the cash by hand, while others waited in line. The treasury also had to hire a security guard to transport the cash.

Cash is legal tender for all debts public and private, so I’m pretty sure the county was required to accept the payment. This unorthodox payment did cause other problems for the county, as well. The county was not able to make its deposit Monday night and missed out on over $1,100 in interest!

Personally, I wouldn’t do anything along those lines, but sometimes a little civil disobedience goes a long way!

Note: Think twice about doing this for your taxes. Carrying around large sums of cash is not always the safest thing to do, and it if is lost or stolen, you have no recourse to recover your funds. ;)


Published or updated February 26, 2011.
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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matt

I think that this is hilarious, it would be even funnier if a lot more people started doing this to protest their property taxes going up that much in one year.

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2 Eric

That’s freakin’ awesome! The fact that the county (as a government agency) is required to accept the coin and bills should show just how ridiculous some government policies are. If a greater portion of the population did this, I’m sure the county would have no choice but to lower property taxes. I’m sure a 24% increase didn’t just pay for schools, police and firemen. Right on, Ryan! Good stuff.

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3 Ryan

I thought it was funny too! I’m sure if too many people did it it would cause huge problems and extreme added expense for the counties it happens in.

Eric, I’m not sure it is ridiculous that government agencies have to accept coins and bills to accept payment. Anyone can pay any public debt with legal tender money of any form. It is a federal law. Check tomorrow’s post for more info! :)

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4 Jonathan

I think this works because it got the intended effect – increased awareness of the big tax hike.

But otherwise, he’s just making the gov’t lose more money, which in turn will lead to higher future taxes :P

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5 Ryan

I agree on both points, Jonathan.

He made a point to raise awareness, and it got national attention from several major news agencies.

His actions cost his local government some money. It wasn’t enough to make a major impact, but if everyone did this it would stop being funny and become a real hassle. It could possibly add a few jobs, but the taxpayers would be holding the bill. Thanks for the comment. :)

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6 JIM

The simplest solution, use the system and its’ rules and regulations, to sink the system. It is our right to question any taxes placed upon us, and appeal if we feel the answers are not as they should be. It is clear in state and federal laws,this right is a given, and is stressed in these laws. It is this very right our country was founded upon. As the adult versions of the playground bully, politicians have warped the process, with intimidation, condemnation of those who protest, increasing the taxes on those brave few who do ask questions, auditing those who protest too much,creating fear of the process of government itself. Instead of these few being made examples of, thereby stopping any true appeals, what if EVERY citizen, of EVERY county, were to exercise their right to appeal, to the fullest extent, at the first instance ,when the new assessments are released. It is not a protest, it is not an illegal act, it is each and every citizen,taking advantage of their legal rights under state tax laws, exercising those rights to the full extent they are allowed by law. Thereby forcing those in the system to address these citizens, as PUBLIC SERVANTS, to the full extent each citizen is entitled to, under these laws, as written in their job descriptions. We want answers, they have to give them to us. They manipulate to be sure few use these rights, we as taxpayers show all involved that the few cannot rule the many, overlooking common sense, decency, civility, and the laws themselves. By filing form 130,(downloadable online),with the county assessor,within 45 days, the timeclock is punched for each taxpayer filing, they cannot then deny any knowledge, put it off indefinitely, pawn if off to the township assessors. There are set timelines, they are on the clock to deal with each and every person in a set manner. The volume would bury the system. For good, forcing a fix, an apology, and knowing then what those being bullied can do when having enough of it all ,to the system itself,with all acting as one,them giving assurance to all involved that the reasonable solutions they then enact, will remain in place for good. So simple,just getting all to see the beauty and ease of the solution, and enacting it in enough numbers to make it work. Other additional informational requests, if needed, can be implemented, in person at all government windows, on the phone, to all government phone lines, with request for numerous forms of information, those requests to be in writing, sent to each asking’s home address. All payments can be made at each office, using dollar bills, coins, the proverbial old lady with the change purse, times 20000, at each place of payment. As in the movie Network, we are mad as hell, and we are not going to take it any more. Time to take the playground back for all. If each of us files just one paper, one time, it will be fixed properly, for good. Symbolic gestures are games, actually use papers that will get results.

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7 Wiley

The simple fact is that taxation is extortion. The government demands money under threat of seizure of property by force, including physical assault, if one resists.

Extortion, under our legal system, is a crime. On a higher level, it’s also immoral and unethical. Yet it’s a primary means by which government funds itself.

This country would perhaps have a chance of survival if more people recognized that government has become a criminal enterprise, and if they resisted that criminality.

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