Today is tax day in the USA, and your tax forms are due. In recognition of this day, here’s a little tax trivia…
The earliest known tax was implemented in Mesopotamia over 4,500 years ago, where people paid taxes throughout the year in the form of livestock, which was the typical currency at the time.
If you steal something, it technically counts as income, and is taxable.
The U.S. tax code contains over 7,000,000,000 words. If you are counting zeroes, that is 7 BILLION not Million. The Bible, called by many the greatest book of all time, has well under a million. The Gettysburg Address has 269 words, and is often called the greatest speech ever written. The greatest love letter of all time, Tarzan’s to Jane had only 97 words.
The first income tax was created in 1861 during the Civil War to finance the war effort.
In 1894 Congress passed the Wilson-Groman tariff which was an income tax at the rate of 2% for income over $4,000 but it was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1895.
In February of 1913 the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified to the Constitution, granting Congress the power to collect taxes on personal income. The one page 1040 form was introduced the following year. Today, (2013) the form and instructions contains 216 pages.
The “easiest” tax form (1040EZ) is two pages long but has 46 pages of instruction.
Six states have no individual income taxes: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington.
Richard Nixon signed the Tax Reform Act of 1969, which essentially eliminated taxes for those living in poverty and raised taxes on certain rich groups by closing loopholes. However, during his presidency he also reduced the highest rates for the richest Americans from 70% to 50%.
The first e-file (electronic transmission of a tax return) took place on January 24, 1986.
The “Presidential Campaign Fund” check-box was created in the 1972 in order to fund presidential elections. Since the inception of that check-off, over a billion dollars has been distributed to about a hundred primary election presidential candidates. The amount is deducted from any refund you may be due. In order to qualify, a candidate must get at least 5% of the vote.
Car accidents have jumped consistently 6% on Tax Day over the past 30 years.
Lady Godiva, was an 11th century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who took a famous naked horse ride through the streets of Coventry in order to get her husband to lower taxes on the locals.
Pennslvania’s alcohol tax was designed to help the city of Johnstown, which had a devastating flood in 1936. Although Johnstown is in fine shape today, that tax is still collected to the tune of $200,000,000 a year for the Keystone State.
Over the last decade it is estimated that the tax code was amended or revised over 4,000 times, more than one change a day!
Married, childless people who rent their homes and earn an average to slightly above average salary get the fewest standard tax breaks.
Effective in 2006, the Treasury Department said it will no longer collect a 3% federal excise tax on long-distance calls. The tax was imposed in 1898 to help pay for the Spanish-American War. The treasury said it was conceding its battle to uphold the tax after five appeals courts declared it illegal.
President Nixon made it commonplace for presidents to publicly release their tax returns. Gerald Ford’s tax returns are not public, but following Jimmy Carter, every US president and major US political figure has released their tax returns.