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How the Income Taxes Came About in the United States Paying income taxes is mandatory if not compulsory, the monies collected is what runs governments. It is therefore more of moral duty or a show of patriotism to pay you’re a chunk of your hard earned cash as taxes to the government of the day. Going down memory lane paying taxes did not begin yesterday or a decade ago. It’s neither a century old tradition, it is something older than that. Let me take you through the history of income taxes in the United States. The taxation history in the US dates back to the colonial protest against British taxation policy in the 1760s leading to the American Revolution. The first sales taxes were on gold, silverware, jewelry and watches which came about as a result of the high cost of the 1812 war. Five years later the congress eliminated all internal taxes and the government then started relying on tariffs from imported goods. The first significant element on income taxes was in 1862 when the congress enacted the first law on it. The office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue was then established whose mandate was to assess, levy, collect taxes and tax laws enforcement. The office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue was also created with the authority to assess, levy, collect taxes and enforce tax laws similarly to the modern day Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Those who made more than $10,000 dollars were subjected to higher rates than their counterparts.
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An inheritance tax also came about, together with the additional sales and excise taxes that were added sometime within that same period. Ninety years after independence, in the year 1866, the internal revenue collections reached a whole new high of about $ 310 million. It remained the highest collected amount until 1911.
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Things changed again in 1868 when congress shifted focus to distilled spirits and tobacco. The issue of income taxes was abolished some time in 1872. In 1894 income tax came again, only to be done with a year later after the supreme court of the United States rule the unconstitutionality of income taxes as they were contrary to the spirit of the constitution. The last nail on the income tax destiny was put in 1913 with the 16th amendment to the constitution. It was permanently included in the tax system of the United States. The amendment gave congress legal authority to tax income and resulted in a revenue law taxing both the incomes of corporations and individuals. There have also been several changes on tax laws, amendments and newer laws that influenced today’s income tax. It is often said that two things a certain, death and taxes, this may be true since it doesn’t look like income taxes are going anywhere anytime soon.