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January 28, 2023

Happy 100th Birthday, Federal Income Tax!

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 16th Amendment or – as some of you consider it – the thing that keeps you in a job.

Back in 1913, the personal income tax would get you at 1% on incomes above $3,000 and maxed out at 7% on incomes over $500,000. It goes without saying that $3000 would stretch quite a bit further at that time than today, as that would be equivalent to over $460,000 today. No wonder rich people complain about being overtaxed.

Over the years, the tax code has grown from a paltry 400 pages to a whopping 73,608:

In 1913, your 1040 looked like this:

And your modern-day 1040 looks something like this:

Back in 1913 and until 1948, it didn't matter if you were married or single, everyone paid the same tax rate:

 

Federal Income Tax Rates History, Nominal Dollars, 1913-2013 by

So… while many of you are busy slaving away, let's all take a moment to thank St. Matthew for the overly complicated tax system we have today that keeps a roof over so many of your heads and leaves taxpayers so baffled they need professional assistance just to figure out how much they owe the government each year.

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