Missourians were subject to both property tax and personal wealth tax at the time of statehood. The territorial legislature established the basic system in 1814 and modified it in subsequent sessions. State tax was levied on property with full or certified ownership; unconfirmed land; Urban lots, apartment buildings and other improvements, slaves over 10 years old and carriages kept for pleasure.
The law also ordered the county sheriff to issue licenses to do business and issue licenses to other types of businesses such as peddlers and ferries. The law authorized the district tax for horses, mares, mules and donkeys for a period of 3 years; Cattle over 3 years old; Slaves aged 16 to 45; Billiard tables; single man over 21 years of age; Watermills and sawmills; Horse mills; Tanyards; and distilleries.
The General Assembly added household furniture over a total of $ 500, as well as watches, necklaces, and accessories to personal wealth tax through 1821. Federal laws changed some parts of the property tax. Land sold by the United States after January 1, 1821 was tax-free for five years, and bounty land awarded for military service and held by patent owners or their heirs for three years. The intent of this law was to make it easier for landowners to buy on credit. With cash sales in 1820 replacing loan sales and the exemption in effect until it was repealed in 1847, Missouri and other states suffered from declining revenues in the early statehood period.
The penalty for failing to report property or not paying taxes on time was double taxation. The sheriff was empowered to sell land to pay taxes, but the land had to be repossessed within a specified time.