When the Citizens National Bank check illustrated below was presented to the C.C.S. Bk. (Capital City State Bank) of Des Moines, that bank required a proper tax stamp before cashing it.
The use of a 2-cent Trans Mississippi postage stamp seems particularly odd in this instance. Although dated July 14, 1898, just two weeks into the taxation period, one would have expected C. F. Fox, manager of the Postal Telegraph-Cable Company to know that use of a postage stamp to pay the check tax was improper. His company certainly must have had tax stamps available by this time to pay the taxes on telegraphic dispatches and money wires. Anyway, J. Gibron, the payee, likely paid the two cents for the correct revenue stamp to be added before collecting his $10.
postage stamp is pen-cancelled 7-14-1898, the same date as the check
The following Kinsman (Ohio) Banking Company check is dated December 13, 1899, nearly 18 months into the tax period. Given the late date, it's not surprising that the use of a postage stamp was rejected. However, that someone would attempt to use a postage stamp 18 months into the tax period also suggests the use of postage stamps still was often tolerated.
In this instance however the payee, M. C. Beckwith, probably didn't pay the tax. Instead the check likely was held until the payor, M. F. Cridelle, paid for the corrective 2-cent revenue stamp. Looking carefully at the detail of the stamps below, one notes that the added revenue stamp bears the initials of the payor, M.F.C., although not in the hand of either Cridelle or Beckwith, whose signature appears on the back of the check.
Because the revenue stamp also bears a December 15, 1899 S.N.B. oval cancellation from the Second National Bank of Warren, Ohio where Beckwith presented it for payment, a bank clerk probably added the revenue stamp after receiving word that Cridelle paid the 2-cents. Interestingly the added revenue stamp was also pencancelled December 13 although it likely wasn't added until December 15, the date of the S.N.B. handstamp.
The bank's cost to collect the the tax likely exceeded 2-cents. Trying to avoid such processing costs, rather than ignorance of the tax laws, might in part explain why some banks allowed checks bearing postage stamps to clear unquestioned.