Saturday, March 1, 2014

The tax man cometh


I did my taxes today, oh joy.  It got me to thinking about our ancestors and their taxes.  Of course I deal with my ancestors’ property taxes all the time as the tax rolls are an important records set but what about income taxes?  When did our ancestors start paying those?  I had no idea so I looked it up.  I found this very interesting information on the The Library of Congress site.


The origin of the income tax on individuals is generally cited as the passage of the 16th Amendment, passed by Congress on July 2, 1909, and ratified February 3, 1913; however, its history actually goes back even further. During the Civil War Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861 which included a tax on personal incomes to help pay war expenses. The tax was repealed ten years later. However, in 1894 Congress enacted a flat rate Federal income tax, which was ruled unconstitutional the following year by the U.S. Supreme Court because it was a direct tax not apportioned according to the population of each state. The 16th amendment, ratified in 1913, removed this objection by allowing the Federal government to tax the income of individuals without regard to the population of each State.
[excerpt from the History of the US Income Tax]


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

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