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Tax and Tax Information - History Of Tax

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Tax and Tax Information * History Of Tax

A History of the Income Tax in the U.S.   
Garry Gamber

After the United States declared its independence and fought the Revolutionary War, the U.S. Congress relied on excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco and a few other products for revenue to pay off its war debts.

These taxes were not popular and led to the Whiskey Rebellion during the administration of George Washington. The U.S. instituted direct taxes on real property, estates, and slaves, taxes which Thomas Jefferson abolished in 1802. The U.S. relied solely on excise taxes for a few more years until they were repealed in 1817. At that point the U.S. had plenty of public land to sell and it relied on the sale of land and on customs duties for its revenue until the Civil War.

Article to continue below----------------------------------------------

N.Y.âs Paterson Shuns Wall Street Stock Transfer Tax (Update2) (BusinessWeek)
New York Governor David Paterson, facing at least a $9 billion budget deficit, rejected a call for a stock transfer tax on Wall Street.

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The cost of the Civil War prompted Congress to restore the excise taxes and to impose a tax on personal income. The tax rate at that time was 3% and proved inadequate for the war needs, so Congress passed new excise taxes on a broader range of items and began taxing licenses, professions, and trades. Following the Civil War the need for revenue declined and Congress abolished the income tax in 1872. For the next 30 years nearly all revenue was collected from the various excise taxes.


Congress passed a flat rate income tax of 2% in 1894, but the Supreme Court ruled that the new tax was a direct tax and that it was not apportioned according to each state's population, as required by Article 1 of the Constitution. The Spanish-American War forced the U.S. to increase tariffs and excise taxes, but it was vigorously debated that the U.S. could not continue to sustain itself with high tariffs and excise taxes and that those taxes were disproportionately burdensome to the less affluent.

Article to continue below----------------------------------------------

U.S. Sales Tax Rates Hit Record High (Forbes)
Shopping blues: Top tax 12%. Chicago's 10.25% highest big-city rate. More Internet tax fights loom.
New York Mayor Bloomberg Presses For Tax On Soda (Reuters Via Yahoo! News)
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged state legislators to levy a tax on soda, saying the money raised would help plug the state's shortfalls in health care and education funding.

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The ensuing debates about excise taxes, tariffs, property taxes, and income taxes led to the 16th Amendment to the Constitution in 1909 which allowed the Federal government to levy a tax on individual lawful incomes. The amendment clarified the earlier Supreme Court ruling by essentially saying that the tax on income was not a direct tax and that it could be levied without regard to the population of each State. Ironically, the amendment was proposed by conservatives in Congress who believed that the amendment would never be ratified and who hoped that the failed amendment would defeat the idea of a tax on income forever. However, in 1913 the amendment was ratified by 36 of the 48 States, the necessary three-fourths majority, and then ratified by 6 more States.


The new income tax law passed by Congress established tax rates of 1% to 7% and included generous exemptions and deductions. As a result, only 1% of the population paid income tax during the first year following the passage of the tax law.


When the U.S. entered into World War I the need for revenue greatly increased. Over the next few years the tax on incomes was increased several times, starting with the 1916 Revenue Act. The War Revenue Act of 1917 reduced exemptions and raised the tax rate again. The 1918 tax act raised the bottom tax rate to 6% and the upper rate to 77%.


Since the end of World War I the tax rate has changed many times, reflecting the needs of the Federal government at the time of the change. For example, during the prosperity of the 1920's, the tax rate was reduced to a minimum rate of 1% and a maximum rate of 25%. As the United States' economy has grown in strength and the Federal government has grown in size, the income tax has become an increasingly important segment of the government's revenue. As a result, tax laws and the tax code have been revised and refined constantly in an effort to meet the changing revenue needs of the Federal government.



Garry Gamber is a public school teacher and entrepreneur. He writes articles about politics, real estate, home businesses, poetry, and books. He is the owner of Good Politics Radio Alaska and a BookWise information lens on Squidoo.

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Who are the CPA Moms?      Your Tax Professional Forever!!!!

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Index of Articles about Taxes

What Other Authors say about Taxes

Low-Income Luxury - Your Guide to the Many Affordable Apartments for Rent in Utah by Heather McKinley-Seymour

Apartments for rent in UtahOften the first thing one does when searching for a home to rent is assess their income. For many Utahans with large families, liabilities or low wages, this can seemingly be...

Why Do We Pay Taxes? by Carl LaFresnaye

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Purchase a Boat in 2006? It Could Earn You A Tax Deduction by Brandon Bissell

Purchase a Boat in 2006? It Could Earn You A Tax Deduction!If you purchased a boat in 2006, the sales tax paid could be deductible from your income taxes. The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 gave taxpayers...

Use Child Tax Credit for Tax Savings by Keith Hoyng

Now, here's a real tax savings to the individual taxpayer with dependents. The child tax credit is a direct federal income tax credit based on the number of dependent children in your family. This federal...

Filing An Income Tax Return by Gray Rollins

When the month of April rolls around most of America is preparing their income tax returns. Each year all individuals who made an income are required to report that income to federal and state governments...

Where To Find Tax Help by Carl LaFresnaye

Once upon a time, doing your taxes was a job for professionals only, like brain surgery or nuclear science. Nowadays software is available that allows you to file your taxes yourself, giving all sorts...

How And Where To Find Valuable Tax Information by Gray Rollins

Taxpayers have two options when filing a federal or state income tax return. Taxpayers can have their tax returns professionally prepared or they can prepare their own taxes. Whatever tax preparation option...

Using The Federal Withholding Tax Table by Carl LaFresnaye

The federal withholding tax table is used to determine the amount of taxes that an individual must pay according to his or her living status, amount of money he or she makes, and his or her age. These...

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In the largest criminal tax case ever filed, KMPG has copped a plea to using fraudulent tax shelters to bilk the government out of 2.5 billion dollars. KMPG has agreed to pay a fine of $456 million dollars,...

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<p>How Does Buying Beat Renting?<p>Melissa is single with no dependents and earns $50,000 a year. As a renter, she doesn't itemize deductions. Melissa eventually purchases a home and ends up...

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