A to Z – Income Tax

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge. I’m participating by blogging about history.

I is for Income Tax




Ugh. Yes, it’s that time of year again. Tax time. April 15th is right around the corner.

But you know, we didn’t always pay income tax. Our country was established in 1776, and we didn’t pay our first yearly income tax until 1913. How did the federal government survive all those decades without our money??

Well, they did get a bit of it. Around 1800, the government started charging a tax on such things as liquor, sugar, tobacco, carriages, and slaves, but when the War of 1812 started, there wasn’t quite enough money to fund it, so the government started taxing jewelry, too. When the war was finished, congress stopped taxing Americans at all and relied solely on tariffs on imported goods.

The government survived nicely for the next fifty years, but when the civil war began, they again raised taxes to fund it. In 1862, Congress passed the first law enacting an income tax. It was a progressive tax. Persons earning $600 to $10,000 per year paid 3%. People earning more, paid more.

After the war ended, income tax was again eliminated and the government again taxed tobacco and liquor. As a matter of fact, in 1895 THE U.S. SUPREME COURT CLAIMED THAT INCOME TAX WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL! The money was not equally used across state lines and therefore went against the Constitution.

Where are these people? We should get them back!

Well, good things never last. In 1913, the powers that be passed the 16th amendment, making the income tax a permanent fixture. It states: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

new-tax-formSince that time, new taxes, new laws, new procedures, new rules come and go every year. The 2015 tax code was 74,608 pages long. No wonder Americans are so confused and frustrated. They not only take our money, but they make the laws difficult for us to understand. Then they rule with ridiculously intimidation, sick threats of stiff penalties and fines that make mafia loan sharks look kinder than the tooth fairy, not to mention the threat of jail time that hangs over our heads. Geez. Shame on our government and our system.


I shouldn’t complain. I got a refund this year. But it was my money in the first place, wasn’t it?



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