Brief History of US Income Tax

Apr 10, 2014

Taxes Due

When working with receipts and sorting through tax documents do you ever ask yourself, "What is the history of this annual ritual we call income tax season?" The origin of US income tax on individuals actually dates back as far as during the Civil War.

During the Civil War Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861 that included a tax on personal income to help pay war expenses. In 1894 Congress passed a flat rate Federal income tax. A year later the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the flat rate tax unconstitutional because it was not distributed according to the population of each state. Ratified in 1913, the 16th Amendment allowed the Federal government to tax individuals without regard to the population of the state which they occupied.

Historial Form 1040

The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 established a Taxpayer Advocate Service as an independent voice inside the agency on behalf of the taxpayer.

To learn more about the history of income tax, you can visit the US Department of Treasury website:

You can also visit our website for helpful tools such as an IRS Withholding calculator and quick links to government sites with useful tax information:

Announcement: Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd, LLC will be closed on April 16th for a "Tax Holiday."