Frequently payments are made under protest as a means of indicating that coercion has been used, and it is always desirable to make protest when it is intended to assert later a claim to recover the payment. But if a payment is otherwise clearly voluntary, protest will not make it involuntary.6 Nor if a payment is obviously coerced will recovery be denied because no protest was made.6 But protest is valuable as evidence, and in a doubtful case may establish the coercive character of a payment;7 and especially where taxes are demanded by one clothed with official authority and having behind him the powers of the law for their collection, a payment made under protest will generally afford a sufficient foundation for a suit to recover a payment improperly demanded;8 and this is sometimes so provided by statute.9 A protest need not be made in formal terms. It is enough if it is made clear that the payment is involuntary.10
N. J. L. 571, 99 Atl. 320, Ann. Cas. 1917 C. 1031.
3 Giddings v. Iowa Sav. Bank, 104 Iowa, 676, 74 N. W. 21; Wilson v. Calhoun, 170 la. Ill, 151 N. W. 1087; Fairbanks v. Snow, 145 Mass. 153, 13 N. E. 596, 1 Am. St. 446.
4 Schultz v. Catlin, 78 Wis. 611, 47 N. W. 946; Price v;. Poynette Bank, 144 Wis. 190, 128 N. W. 895.
5 Railroad Co. v. Commrs., 98 U. S. 541, 25 L. Ed. 196; Chesebrough v. United States, 192 U. S. 253, 259, 24 Sup. Ct. 262, 264, 48 L. Ed. 432; Dear v. Varnum, 80 Cal. 86, 22 Pac. 76; Conkling v. Springfield, 132 111. 420, 24 N. E. 67; Benson v. Monroe, 7 Cush. 125, 54 Am. Dec. 716; Rosenfeld v. Boston Mut. L. Ins. Co., 222 Mass. 284,110 N. E. 304; Richards v. Security Mut. L. Ins. Co., 230 Mass. 320, 119 N. E. 744; Oakland Cemetery Assoc, v. Ramsey County, 98 Minn. 404,108 N. W. 857, 109 N. W. 237, 116 Am. St. Rep. 377; Robins v. Latham, 134 Mo. 466, 36 S. W. 33; Boss v. Hutchinson, 182 N. Y. App. D. 88,169 N. Y. S. 513; Peebles v. Pittsburg, 101 Pa. St. 304, 47 Am. St. 714.
In Travis v. Unkart, 89 N. J. L. 571, 99 Atl. 320, Ann. Cas. 1917 C. 1031, the court said: "In Mee v. Montclair,
84 N. J. L. 400,86 Atl. 261, a policeman . was fined for delinquency and was told by the chief of police to indorse his salary check to the town in payment of the fine. This he did, but, as it did not appear that the fine was an illegal one, or that the chief used any coercion to compel the indorsement, or that the policeman had made a protest, it was held that the payment was voluntary and could not be recovered. It is not to be understood that if the policeman had protested that that would have compelled a different decision in his case. The fact that he did not protest appeared in the evidence and must be considered as having been adverted to in the opinion of the court, as tending, among other facts, to Bhow that there was no compulsion. In 30 Cyc, p. 1310, it is stated that a payment is not rendered involuntary merely because the payer at the time makes a protest against the payment, and that if money is paid under compulsion no protest is necessary to lay the foundation of an action to recover it; but if there be doubt as to whether the payment was voluntary, the protest may be taken into account in determining that question. This is clearly the law."