Apr 15, 2009

Tax Day

(LoC) - Today, April 15, is Tax Day. From its beginnings the United States raised revenue. Whiskey and tobacco taxes provided much of the government's early revenue. But, financing the Revolutionary War was expensive and the young United States struggled to raise funds from the thirteen states:

Resolved, That these United States be called on to pay in their respective quotas of fifteen millions of dollars in the year 1779, and of six millions of dollars annually for 18 years from and after the year 1779, as a fund for sinking the emissions and loans of these United States to the 31st day of December, 1778, inclusive.

... An income tax was first collected during the Civil War from 1862 to 1872. During the administration of President Grover Cleveland, the federal government again levied an income tax, enacted by Congress in 1894. However, the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional the following year. As a result, supporters of an income tax embarked on the lengthy process of amending the Constitution. Not until the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified in 1913 was Congress given the power "to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census of enumeration." Continued