Deciding when to File a Tax Return?
Posted by Nick Niesen on November 8th, 2010
April 15th ? ?The Day of Reckoning?! Every year, millions of Americans get ready to pay taxes to Uncle Sam, or get ready to collect a tax refund from Uncle Sam; when did this become the great day that it is for taxpayers, and when are we actually required to file a income tax return? Let?s take a look at the beginnings of the income tax date of April 15 and why it was chosen?
The first known income tax that Americans were legally required to pay was enacted during the early 1860s, and the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln. The Civil War was proving very costly to finance, and the President and Congress created the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted a law requiring citizens to pay federal income tax. This could be considered the start of our modern day income tax. This income tax was based on principles of graduated or progressive taxation and of withholding income at the source. The commissioner was given authority to assess, levy and collect federal income taxes. The authority to enforce tax laws by seizure of property and income and by prosecution.
An interesting time during the formation and eventual taxation of America occurred during 1918. Until that point in time, the vast majority of tax revenue for government funding came from alcoholic beverage sales and high tariffs. In 1919, Congress passed an amendment to the Constitution that made it illegal to manufacture or sell alcohol; what would replace the revenue? American federal income tax was the proposed solution, and we?ve been paying since. Although during the great years known as Prohibition, many ?revenue agents? spent their days tracking down ?moon shiners? not tax evaders, the American citizen, the individual taxpayer took on the heavy burden of supporting government revenue, and it has become heavier with each passing year. On a side note, although ?moon shining? was illegal, the ?moon shiners? still had to pay taxes on the moon shine so they were incarcerated for tax evasion and not ?moon shining?. Taxes seem to always come into play when looking for a way to prosecute someone.
Then, during 1942, the Revenue Act of 1942 was passed and the ?New Deal? era was begun. Since that point in time, government control, power, and expenditures has continued to increase at a phenomenal rate, and today the American taxpayer supports a trillion dollar giant known as the United States government. This ravenous beast consumes more than 10% of our earned income each year, and if the Social Security Administration has their way, will continue to consume even more of our weekly earnings. We can foresee no other relief in sight.
There continues to be talk on the hill to change the way taxes are calculated and collected. The most common themes are the flat tax and the national sales tax. Until Congress actually has the courage to step up to the plate and change it, taxes will remain as cumbersome as always.
Like it? Share it!
About the AuthorNick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
Articles Posted: 33,847
More by this author