Profile America: First Income Tax

Income taxes first came to America this month 156 years ago, when President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill levying a 3 percent tax on incomes between $600 and $10,000, and a 5 percent tax on greater incomes. The tax was rescinded in 1872.

The income tax all of us know today dates to 1913, when the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified.

About 149 million individual income tax returns are submitted annually, reporting tax revenues totaling nearly $1.8 trillion. There are over 31,000 tax preparation offices around the nation. These services employ nearly 194,000 people engaged in figuring out taxes owed.

Profile America is in its 22nd year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

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