The 16th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on February 3, 1913, authorizing Congress to levy taxes on income and giving the government a replacement for the tax on alcohol—thus paving the way for the passage of the Volstead Act (Prohibition) in 1919.
“In its first two years, the [income] tax was modest, affecting only a very few citizens and provided only a small part of the government’s total revenue,” the U.S. Census Bureau reported this week. “But the need to fund our involvement in World War I moved income taxes to the center of federal finances.”
In 2011, individuals paid around $1.7 trillion in federal income tax, while state and local income taxes amounted to $114 billion in just the second quarter alone of 2013.
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