April 15 isn’t most Americans’ favorite day, and that’s because most years, it’s the official, federal tax deadline (for the first time in 65 years, tax day now falls on a different day, July 15, 2020) . Tax Day, as it’s called, has a long and interesting history in the States that goes all the way back to Abe Lincoln’s leadership. Federal income tax was introduced with the Revenue Act of 1861 to help fund the Civil War, and subsequently repealed, re-adopted, and held unconstitutional. The early taxes were based on assessments, not voluntary tax returns. Tax payment dates varied by act.
1861: The First Federal Income Tax
Abraham Lincoln, who was an American president from 1861 to 1865, proclaimed the first federal income tax his first year in office. 1861—particularly August 5—is the historical day that marks the future-changing decision. At the time, Lincoln announced a 3% tax rate for anyone who made over $800 a year (roughly $24,000 with today’s inflation). The decision was made to help fund the Union’s efforts during the civil war. Though we are still being taxed today, Lincoln’s tax system was repealed in 1871.
1894: Tariff Act of 1894 Rules […]