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Income Tax

Income Tax


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The first federal income tax in the United States was imposed during the Civil War and was initially set at 3% of incomes over $800. It was repealed after the war.The same Congress which passed the Wilson-Gorman Tariff of 1894 also passed the first peacetime income tax, partly to offset the loss of revenue from the new tariff. The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1895 in Pollock v. Farmers` Loan & Trust Co. that the 1894 income tax was a "direct tax" and thus prohibited by the Constitution. It left open certain limited forms, but due to both political and practical considerations, a federal income tax became impossible.The situation was changed with the passage of Amendment XVI in 1913, which explicitly gave the federal government the power to tax incomes. Tax rates increased during The Great Depression and World War II, rising from a top rate of 25% in 1930 to a confiscatory 94% in 1944. It remained at 89% in 1962 and fell gradually over the next four decades.Up until World War II, the number of taxpayers had been much smaller than the total employed population, but it became clear at the outset of the conflict that incomes would be assessed on a much broader base than ever before. This plan was adopted in 1943.The statistics for the number of taxpayers illustrates the scale of the collection issue. By the end of the war, the number of taxpayers had risen to 60 million.



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