“Infernal Revenuers”, that’s what Granny Clampett called the federal agents who came snooping around her still.
They were feds alright, but they weren’t just there to keep moonshine from flowing, they were the tax men as well.
We all complain about taxes. Some more than others of course, and there are a few who feel good about paying taxes.
Taxes in and of themselves are a necessity. After all, the government has to run somehow.
America has had taxes from colonial days, as a matter of fact; taxes were responsible for the American Revolution.
But those were taxes on land, stamps, services, and the like.
Once we were the USA, there were import taxes, property taxes, and other taxes on luxury items, but at the outset of our nation there were no income taxes.
That didn’t start until 1861!
August 5th to be exact.
The Revenue Act of 1861 included buried in its language the first U. S. Federal income tax!
In April of that year, the Civil War broke out, and President Lincoln needed a way to pay for it.
It imposed an income tax to be “…levied, collected, and paid, upon the annual income of every person residing in the United States, whether such income is derived from any kind of property, or from any profession, trade, employment, or vocation carried on in the United States or elsewhere, or from any other source whatever…”
Pretty broad, wouldn’t you say?
BTW, It was a flat tax!
Anyone who made over $800 a year paid 3%.
A year later, the Revenue act of 1862 repealed the income tax provision and replaced it with a progressive tax scale of 3% on annual incomes over $600 and 5% on incomes over $10,000.
Anyone living outside the U.S got hit with the 5% as well.
Oh, yeah, it was temporary. The bill said the tax would expire in 1866!
Well, we see how that worked out!