Ever wondered how many pages make up the U.S. Tax Code? So many that we turned it into a timeline.


President Abraham Lincoln signs a revenue producing measure to help pay for expenses caused by the Civil War.


Wilson Tariff Act revives the income tax, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue is created.


The War Revenue Act raises taxes on the highest income bracket to 67% to help fund World War I.


The tax rate is lowered to 52%. Internal revenue collections reach
$5.4 billion.


Internal revenue collections reach
$9 billion.


Congress passes The Current Tax Payment Act, which requires employers to withhold taxes from employees’ wages and remit them quarterly.


Bureau of Internal Revenue becomes the Internal Revenue Service.


Congress enacts the largest tax cut in U.S. history, approximately
$750 billion
over six years.

The tax reduction, however, is partially offset by two tax acts, in 1982 and 1984, that attempted to raise approximately
$265 billion.


President Clinton signs the Revenue Reconciliation Act, which would help minimize increases to the federal deficit from 1994-1998.


President George W. Bush signs a series of major tax cuts, the largest being the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. It actually saved taxpayers
$1.3 trillion
over 10 years.


The U.S. eliminates the Foreign Sales Corporation/Extraterritorial Income provision after the World Trade Organization rules it illegal.

Congress passes a number of tax breaks, including the option for individuals to deduct either state sales tax or income tax (whichever is higher).


President Obama announces plans to raise taxes on the highest and second-highest income brackets from 35% to 39.6% and 33% to 36%, respectively.


Income taxes are repealed.


States ratify the 16th Amendment: “Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”


U.S sets the first anual tax filing deadline to March 15. America hit an all-time high of 77% tax rate.

Internal revenue collections pass the billion-dollar mark.


The Revenue Act of 1932 raised the top tax bracket back up to 63% in response to the Great Depression.


The Revenue Act of 1942 - "The greatest tax bill in American history” according to President Franklin D. Roosevelt - passes Congress. It increases tax rates and the number of residents subject to income tax. It also creates deductions for medical and investment expenses.


More than 43% of Americans pay income taxes.

Internal revenue collections reach
$43 billion.


President Ford becomes the first to publicly release his personal income tax return. A few years after, President Nixon became mired in a scandal over whether he paid enough in taxes.

Every president since Ford has released his annual claim.


President Reagan signs the Tax Reform Act, the most significant piece of tax legislation in 30 years. Income taxes on individuals from the top income bracket is lowered from 50% to 28%, the lowest it had been since 1916.


Taxpayers are allowed to file returns electronically.


President Clinton passes the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 which cut taxes by another
$152 billion,
including a cut in capital-gains tax for individuals. The act also introduced a $500 per child tax credit and tax incentives for education.


The IRS administers another mid-year refund program, this time providing an advance payment of an increase in the Child Tax Credit.

The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act accelerates the tax rate cuts that had been enacted in 2001, and temporarily reduced the tax rate on capital gains and dividends to 15%.


The IRS processes
230 million
federal tax returns

and supplemental documents, collecting
$2.3 trillion
in gross taxes.


The first written record of taxes dates back to Ancient Egypt. Taxed items included grain, livestock, and oils.


If someone reports their company for tax evasion in the U.S., he or she will receive 30% of the amount collected.


Americans spend over $27.7 billion every year preparing their taxes.


Form 1040 started out as a 3-page document. Today, the instructions for this form alone are nearly 200 pages long.


Today, the IRS collects more than $1.2 billion in taxes and processes more than 133 million returns annually.


There are at least 480 tax forms on the IRS website.

U.S. creates the first income tax law:

Incomes between $600-$10k = 3% tax

Incomes between $10k = 5% tax

The first form 1040 is introduced:

Income tax rates
$50k = 1%
$75k = 2%
$100k = 3%
$250k = 4%

In an attempt to remain revenue neutral, the act calls for a $120 billion increase in business taxation and a corresponding decrease in individual taxation over a five-year period.

52.9 million
tax returns are filed electronically
(more than 40% of all individual returns).




highest possible tax rate:


pages of tax law (2013)

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