Today is tax day. That’s not to be confused with Tax Freedom Day, which is still eight days away. You must have your U.S. federal income tax return in the mail by midnight tonight.
To be honest, I don’t remember any family members telling great tax stories whenever relatives gathered. Economic bragging rights in my family were claimed by virtue of income and possessions rather than taxes paid, or avoided, which I suspect was the norm in most U.S. families.
But, according to Business Week’s web site, ancestry.com will soon make it possible to check out some of your ancestors’ tax returns online. As part of an exclusive deal with the National Archives, tax returns from 1862 to 1918 will be available. That includes Abraham Lincoln’s $1,296 tax bill on his $25,000 income as president in 1864.
The road to federal income taxation was a rocky one after the tax made its debut in 1862 as a means of financing the Civil War. The tax was twice declared unconstitutional before Congress eliminated that nagging inconvenience by adding the 16th Amendment to the Constitution in 1913. We’ve been paying ever since.
So, if you’re one of those people seen on the late-night news dropping off your return at the post office just ahead of the witching hour, you can take some solace in the fact that your American relatives for the past 95 years have been part of the same tax-paying ritual. Think of it as carrying on a family tradition.
Liberty Tax man courtesy of 1Flatworld.