A text from about 100 AD, but showing the same general practice:
“Gaius Vibius Maximus, Prefect of Egypt, says: since the enrollment by household is at hand, it is necessary for all who for any reason are outside their nomes [districts] to return to their domestic hearths, that they may also accomplish the customary dispensation of enrollment and continue steadfastly in the husbandry that belongs to them.” (cited in Deissman, Light from the Ancient East, pp. 270-271)
Do we hear divine laughter?
About 3 BC Augustus orders everyone to be taxed/enrolled
while he is hailed as the first man of the empire (and “father of his country”). Statues of himself are placed in all the temples. Everybody hails Augustus, the earthly ruler of them all.
And it is that same act of supreme PR which is what brings Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, for the birth of the world’s humblest child.