16th amendment: Income Tax
In America, one of the biggest tax bites on our income is the federal income tax, although state and local taxes also take a substantial bite. There are property taxes and sales taxes. Every time we fill up the gas tax, we are paying a tax. We pay so much taxes that some have calculated “tax freedom day”, as the day during the year when our nation has theoretically earned the income necessary to have paid our taxes for a year. We pay taxes to pay for government services including national defense, roads and bridges, fire and police protection, etc. Of course, taxes are also used to pay for things with which we might not personally agree, such as wars and abortions, or on unnecessary things that many consider to be a complete waste of taxpayer dollars. Most recently, complaints and arguments were against bank and corporate bailouts. American citizens are required to pay taxes every year. This year, on April 17th, in the United States, Tax Day is a colloquial term for the day on which individual income tax returns are due to the federal government. The filing deadline for individuals was March 1 in 1913 and was changed to March 15 in 1918 and again to April 15 in 1955. The case of Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. challenged the constitutionality of the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act of 1894 which taxed incomes over $4,000 at the rate of two percent. The case was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1895. The Supreme Court decided that the Act's unapportioned income taxes on interest, dividends, and rents were effectively direct taxes. The Act was therefore unconstitutional because it violated the Constitution's rule that direct taxes be apportioned. In 1913, eighteen years later, the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. This Amendment gave the United States Congress the legal authority to tax all incomes without regard to the apportionment requirement. On July 2, 1909, the 16th amendment...
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