Birthdays are a day to look back a remember. But they’re also a time to look forward to the year ahead. In America we celebrate by honoring the person with parties, balloons, cake, ice cream and usually lots of presents. Children enjoy their birthdays more than anyone else, and always anticipate what theme they’ll have at their next party. It is a fun and festive tradition.
But sometimes birthdays aren’t welcome. People hate the thought of growing older and anything that reminds them of the passing of time. I’m not one who succumbs to this way of thinking because I happen to enjoy the gift of life I’ve been given. Each year stands as a testimony of the faithfulness of God in my life. And I see this as a real reason to celebrate!
Today is a birthday of sorts, and it’s one most every American dreads.
It’s the 100th anniversary of the day our annual income taxes are due. There will be no cake, no presents and certainly no theme. This party requires everyone to send presents, even those who choose not to celebrate. 😦 Certainly not a party to look forward to.
But are you familiar with the history of Tax Day?
The idea of it began in the early 1800’s:
The nation had few taxes in its early history. From 1791 to 1802, the United States government was supported by internal taxes on distilled spirits, carriages, refined sugar, tobacco and snuff, property sold at auction, corporate bonds, and slaves. The high cost of the War of 1812 brought about the nation’s first sales taxes on gold, silverware, jewelry, and watches. In 1817, however, Congress did away with all internal taxes, relying on tariffs on imported goods to provide sufficient funds for running the government.
In 1862, in order to support the Civil War effort, Congress enacted the nation’s first income tax law. It was a forerunner of our modern income tax in that it was based on the principles of graduated, or progressive, taxation and of withholding income at the source. During the Civil War, a person earning from $600 to $10,000 per year paid tax at the rate of 3%. Those with incomes of more than $10,000 paid taxes at a higher rate. Additional sales and excise taxes were added, and an “inheritance” tax also made its debut. In 1866, internal revenue collections reached their highest point in the nation’s 90-year history—more than $310 million, an amount not reached again until 1911.
In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution made the income tax a permanent fixture in the U.S. tax system. The amendment gave Congress legal authority to tax income and resulted in a revenue law that taxed incomes of both individuals and corporations.
Taxes are a necessary part of running a government well. And this leads me to today’s question:
Question #15: Have you ever discussed what paying taxes were like in your grandparent’s day? Do they remember anything in particular that they have never mentioned?
Chart Source: http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com