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Happy birthday income tax, you're 100 years old (ouch!)

It's doubtful most people will notice, let alone celebrate, Friday's 100th anniversary of the U.S. income tax code. But, yes taxpayers, Oct. 4, 2013, is the centennial.

So, happy birthday income tax?

"Obviously, it depends on your perspective," said Ajay Mehrotra, a history professor at Indiana University.

"But there's one thing we can take from the period of time when the tax law passed," he said. "And that is lawmakers got together and realized some permanent form of taxation was needed instead of having a political stalemate that got nowhere."

One expert sees the 100 years as a system run amok.

"In 1913, the tax code consisted of 400 pages," said Timothy Nash, a professor of free market economics at Northwood University.

"By 2012, the tax code was 73,608 pages," he said. "We have gone from a simple tax system to a complex, unfriendly system."

But having some sort of taxation goes back to the country's beginning. From 1791 to 1802, the government was supported by tax revenue from the sale of such items as liquor, tobacco, sugar, property sold at auction and even through the sale of slaves.

The high cost of the War of 1812 saw the first sales tax on gold, silverware, jewelry and watches. But by 1817, Congress eliminated all taxes and relied on tariffs from imported goods for revenues.

It was in 1862, to fund the Civil War, that Congress enacted the first income tax. Anyone making between $300 to $10,000 a year paid a rate of 3 percent. That tax ended soon after the war.

Congress also established the Internal Revenue Service at the same time, which had much the same power and authority then as it does now.

Jumping to 1894, Congress passed the first peacetime income tax law, but a year later the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. The court said that taxes on rents and real estate income had to be divided among the states according to population, which the law did not allow.


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An average of about 700 pages

An average of about 700 pages a year.
Say it took 15 seconds to read a page.
It would take you almost 2 weeks straight to read it all. Add in actually sleeping etc, it would likely take you most of a month to simply read through the entire tax code, saying nothing about actually understanding it.
See, when designing/building something, its nice when you can reuse various parts. There is a point though when stuff becomes so complicated and convoluted that its simply best to just start over.

The founders would be proud the US has prospered and become a world power. They would then probably faint and die once learning the details.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.

I have a copy of the original Federal Income Tax form of 1913...

somewhere on my computer. I will post it later...

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win!"

"The belief is worthless if the fear of social and physical punishment overrides the belief."


thnanks for th e hisrty lesso

The Diamond Dog is a real cool cat. | Reporting on the world from an altitude of 420.