1862 - President Lincoln signed into law a revenue-raising measure to help pay for Civil War expenses. The measure created a Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the nation's first income tax. It levied a 3 percent tax on incomes between $600 and $10,000 and a 5 percent tax on incomes of more than $10,000.
1867 - Heeding public opposition to the income tax, Congress cut the tax rate. From 1868 until 1913, 90 percent of all revenue came from taxes on liquor, beer, wine and tobacco.
1872 - Income tax repealed.
1894 - The Wilson Tariff Act revived the income tax and an income tax division within the Bureau of Internal Revenue was created.
1895 - Supreme Court ruled the new income tax unconstitutional on the grounds that it was a direct tax and not apportioned among the states on the basis of population. The income tax division was disbanded.
1909 - President Taft recommended Congress propose a constitutional amendment that would give the government the power to tax incomes without apportioning the burden among the states in line with population. Congress also levied a 1 percent tax on net corporate incomes of more than $5,000.
1913 - As the threat of war loomed, Wyoming became the 36th and last state needed to ratify the 16th Amendment. The amendment stated, "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." Later, Congress adopted a 1 percent tax on net personal income of more than $3,000 with a surtax of 6 percent on incomes of more than $500,000. It also repealed the 1909 corporate income tax. The first Form 1040 was introduced.
1918 - The Revenue Act of 1918 raised even greater sums for the World War I effort. It codified all existing tax laws and imposed a progressive income-tax rate structure of up to 77 percent.
1919 - The states ratified the 18th Amendment, barring the manufacture, sale or transport of intoxicating beverages. Congress passed the Volstead Act, which gave the Commissioner of Internal Revenue the primary responsibility for enforcement of Prohibition. Eleven years later, the Department of Justice assumed primary prohibition enforcement duties.
1931 - The IRS Intelligence Unit used an undercover agent to gather evidence against gangster Al Capone. Capone was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years.
1933 - Prohibition repealed. IRS again assumed responsibility for alcohol taxation the following year and for administering the National Firearms Act. Later, tobacco tax enforcement was added.
1942 - The Revenue Act of 1942, hailed by President Roosevelt as "the greatest tax bill in American history," passed Congress. It increased taxes and the number of Americans subject to the income tax. It also created deductions for medical and investment expenses.
1943 - Congress passed the Current Tax Payment Act, which required employers to withhold taxes from employees' wages and remit them quarterly.
1944 - Congress passed the Individual Income Tax Act, which created the standard deductions on Form 1040.
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