The Interesting History of Income Tax

By William J. Federer

“The only things certain are death and taxes” – Benjamin Franklin Yet few know America’s interesting history of Income Tax, such as:

  • 1787 – U.S. Constitution prohibited a “direct” Federal tax 
  • 1862 – “Revenue Tax” on incomes went into effect as an emergency to finance the Union during the Civil War 
  • 1873 –  The Civil War ended, emergency over, Income Tax Repealed 
  • 1895 – The Supreme Court made Income Tax unconstitutional 
  • 1913 – Woodrow Wilson thought tariffs on imports caused wars, so he worked to replace them with an Income Tax. Income Tax was originally only a 1% tax on the top 1% richest people in America. 
  • 1943 – Paycheck Withholding began as an emergency effort to get funds to finance WWII. 

John F. Kennedy – “Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased flow of revenues to the Federal Government.” (Annual Budget Message, Jan. 17, 1963)

Thomas Jefferson – “It is an encouragement to proceed as we have begun in substituting economy for taxation” (2nd Annual Message, 1802)

(176 pages, paperback, illustrations)

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